COP21 Day 5 review: Stock rising on green finance

Although Friday at the COP was nominally Oceans Day, the news agenda was dominated by green commitments aiming to transform the global financial system.

Fifteen of the world’s 20 largest banks totaling close to $2 trillion in market value have now made commitments to green bonds

Fifteen of the world’s 20 largest banks totaling close to $2 trillion in market value have now made commitments to green bonds

Top of the list was the launch of new climate change disclosure taskforce, announced by the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney and headed up by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The task force will offer climate change-related financial risk disclosures to companies and investors to help financial markets understand the implications of climate-related risks.

Meanwhile, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) presented a program for scaling up energy efficiency finance in developing nations, which it says could deliver $25 billion.

In the same session, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) launched the Sustainable Energy Marketplace, a web-based platform that helps to identify promising renewable energy projects and links them to public and private financiers to help scale up investments in emerging markets. The Marketplace will be launched with regional hubs for Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

It was also announced that the global green bond market haS grown from $36.6 billion of new issuance in 2014 to $38.35 billion as of mid-November 2015. However, much work needs to be done, as an estimated annual $500 billion is required to limit warming to two degrees.

Everything else you need to know from Friday at COP21

Climate commitments growing

A new report from Yale university revealed the ever-growing number of climate pledges made on NAZCA - the UN’s register of commitments to climate action by companies, cities, subnational regions, and investors.

Fifteen of the world’s 20 largest banks totaling close to $2 trillion in market value have now made commitments to green bonds, while more than one-third (609) of the 2,000 largest companies in the Forbes 2000 are engaged on NAZCA.

These 609 companies represent aggregate revenue of $19.2 trillion, equivalent to the combined national GDPs of China, Japan and Germany in 2014.

The NAZCA also features commitments from almost 1,200 cities and regions.

Bristol and Cambridge urges cities to divest

The mayors of Bristol and Cambridge were among 12 signatories to an open letter to city leaders around the world calling for divestment.

The letter said: “Here at the COP21 Climate talks, it is the time to set the next step and send a strong signal to national governments: If it is wrong to wreck the climate, it is wrong to invest in its destruction. Divestment models the kind of commitments we expect national governments to make in Paris: the transition away from fossil fuels is irreversible.

“Mayors have a vital role to play in the transition to a new energy economy. It is time we invest in supporting our communities instead of destroying our climate. Please join us and divest from fossil fuels.”

Medical industry unites behind climate action

Medical organisations representing more than 8,200 hospitals and 13 million health professionals issued their call for strong agreement at the UN climate negotiation.

The call includes statements from the World Health Organisation, and industry groups from the UK, Germany and France.

“As doctors, it is our role to protect health by drawing political leaders’ attention to the impacts of climate change and to promote health by advocating for local solutions such as cycle-friendly cities and clean, renewable energy” said Dr Xavier Deau, the former president of the World Medical Association."

Climate finance still a sticking point?

On the last day of the preliminary negotiations, campaigners warned that negotiators must resolve the financial sticking point before ministers arrive on Monday. 

Christian Aid's senior climate change advisor Mohamed Adow said: "Right now the text is unworkable as it doesn't include a clear commitment to provide finance to help vulnerable countries adapt to climate change. The uncertainty around that is eroding trust which will be needed when Ministers take over the negotiations on Monday. 

"Rich and poor countries want to get a deal done. They are like teenagers at a school prom. They have been flirting with each other but we need developed countries to step forward and make the first move.

"The sooner we get finance on the table the more time we will have to craft a ratchet mechanism and work on language around decarbonisation. 

And the winner is...

Denmark won Climate Action Network's Fossil of the Day award on Thursday night, after "reducing its climate targets and nearly halving its financial support for developing countries".

The Venstre government had announced the country’s plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020, will be lowered to 37%.

Brad Allen


| CO2 | The Paris Agreement


Energy efficiency & low-carbon | Climate change
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