2019 ….Ambition, ambition, ambition, ambition, ambition | January 2019

Happy New Year!

It’s been a while since I connected with you since I stepped down at The Climate Trust in March. I have spent the better part of 2018 working on the Noble Research Institute’s ambitious national Ecosystem Services Market program to advance soil health.

I tried hard to limit my news intake over the holidays. The quick succession of headlines in the closing months of 2018 relating to our changing climate was tough to digest. The special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presented some hard choices if we are to avert the catastrophe of a 3°C world within the narrow window of just the next 12 years!

This was followed by the 4th National Climate Assessment released by the White House and 13 federal agencies. Their economic message was pretty precise. Without action, GDP in the US would drop 10% by virtue of the impacts from climate change by the end of the century.

At the Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, 200 countries made progress on advancing the 2015 Paris Agreement. Rules were agreed to track and report emission reduction progress, but the outcome stopped short of elevating the level of ambition necessary in light of the IPCC and 4th NCA reports.

A disappointment was the stalling on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement that covers cooperative approaches (Article 6.2) and a new market mechanism (Article 6.4) intended to enable international carbon market mechanisms to help fulfill a country’s nationally determined contributions (aka their plan to achieve at least the 2°C threshold). While full of jargon, this is provision is vital if we are to truly expect the crucial investments from the private sector. Until this market mechanism is solidified, private capital will wait on the sidelines.

Despite this, the World Bank Group is trying to crowd in private investment. WBG recently announced it would be amping up its capital commitment to support the climate change agenda to $200 billion over five years.

Many experts have pointed to the treasures of investing in the transition to a lower carbon world. New Climate Economy just released a report that found that choosing the appropriate paths to address climate change over the next 3 years could unleash $26 trillion worth of benefits and enroll 65 million workers by 2030.

I loved what United Nations Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, said in Poland when addressing the need for countries to act. “From now on, my top five priorities will be ambition, ambition, ambition, ambition, ambition,” she said. Just marvelous! That is what we need from our governments, agencies, policy makers, NGOs, investors, corporations, industry, insurers, and citizens.

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