Euromoney, September 2017
Climate change finance is a jigsaw that must be assembled by thousands of people who each have a piece but do not know what the other pieces look like, or even where they are. It must be assembled against an exacting time limit, which, if missed, will mean widespread death and displacement. It is a massive and intricate puzzle. But on the bright side, at least we have all the pieces.
Climate finance is also the ultimate story of the tension between macro and micro. Macro does not get any bigger than global warming: carbon emissions wreck the world equally; a democratic contribution to everybody’s rising sea level and everybody’s acidifying soil. It is a truly global problem that requires global coordination to create a global solution. But understanding the micro level is essential: the Pacific island village that needs funding because its wells have become saline, or the individual rural sub-Saharan citizen, who might be converted from burning kerosene to using solar energy.
The architects of climate change finance must at one end wrestle with the enormous sums involved – the Paris Agreement pledged $100 billion of investment a year – and the need to channel it to the most arcane and specific needs of the vulnerable, where deployment might depend on the right outcome of a tribal meeting or the ability to get a digger off a barge at high tide to a roadless island with no quay.
The good thing is that the will to get this done is exceptionally widespread. Also, the money is there to do what needs to be done.
“There are no big mysteries,” says Rachel Kyte, special representative of the UN secretary-general for Sustainable Energy for All, and previously the World Bank’s special envoy for climate change. “There’s plenty of money in the world. If you were going to start baking, you’ve got all the ingredients on the table in front of you.
“What we haven’t been able to do yet is get the ingredient mix right.”
This is part of a series of eight articles on climate change finance in Euromoney’s September edition. See them here:
[NB the next two are by other writers]