Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

World Bank Climate Envoy Delivers Powerful Message on Coming Low-Carbon Revolution

Climate

The World Bank’s Rachel Kyte is a whirling dervish these days in advance of key international climate change negotiations, but she managed a quick stop-by this week at the University of Massachusetts-Boston to share her optimism that a big climate breakthrough is possible next month in Paris.

“We’re at a very different position than we were at Copenhagen [the ‘09 climate talks]. We’re more on track for a pivot, not a pirouette,” said Kyte, vice president and special envoy for climate change at the World Bank, speaking to a riveted audience Tuesday night.

Kyte’s said her “excitement” is guided not by wishful thinking, but powerful shifts on the climate front, among those:

  • Contentious debates over climate science and the cost of action versus inaction are over. “”The cost of inaction will be brutal,” Kyte said, pointing to the climate-influenced El Nino that is wreaking storm and marine life havoc right now across the Pacific Rim and beyond.

  • Climate risk has moved from a fringe college campus topic to a core economy-wide concern. Kyte referenced the Bank of England’s recent warnings of more severe storms, crop failures, coastal flooding and overall economic instability. 

  • Global investors are clamoring for action, as evidenced by a recent letter from more than 400 investors representing $24 trillionyes, trillion—calling on governments to achieve an ambitious climate deal in Paris.

  • Unprecedented willingness of developed and developing countries alike to make strong climate commitments, known formally as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). More than 145 countries, most of them developing countries, have already announced their INDCs, the latest being Fiji which committed this week to reduce its carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. “(They’re a first-generation investment prospectus for a low-carbon world,” she said.

  • Growing momentum for carbon pricing, including explicit support from most of the countries submitting INDCs as well as 1,000-plus companies, including a half dozen major European oil companies.

While it is clear “we’re on the right side of history,” Kyte says key obstacles remain before the low-carbon economy can really take off. Topping her list are fossil fuel subsidies which must be abolished and “silly politics,” which is impeding coherent action in key political hubs like Washington, DC.

She also chided institutional investors a bit for their parochialism—“they won’t invest south of the Alps”—on clean energy investing. Despite double-digit annual growth in developing countries, clean energy investing is still dominated entirely by multinational financial institutions. “Morocco is just as safe a market as Spain,” she said, highlighting the potential for healthy 7 percent investment returns. “(Investor) money isn’t moving as fast as it should be.”

Peyton Fleming is a senior director at Ceres, a nonprofit sustainability advocacy group. Follow Peyton on Twitter @PeytonCeres.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

How COP21 Will Unleash Massive Global Renewable Energy Growth

Vandana Shiva: Agri-Corporations Attempt to Hijack COP21

What is COP21? Find Out in This 2 Minute Video

Corporate and Financial World Are Finally Ready to Take Climate Action

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

More than 1,000 people were told to evacuate their homes when a wildfire ignited in the foothills west of Denver Monday, Colorado Public Radio reported.

Read More Show Less

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. mixetto / E+ / Getty Images

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. New research has found that 5.4 million Americans were dropped from their insurance between February and May of this year. In that three-month stretch more Americans lost their coverage than have lost coverage in any entire year, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Heat waves are most dangerous for older people and those with health problems. Global Jet / Flickr / CC by 2.0

On hot days in New York City, residents swelter when they're outside and in their homes. The heat is not just uncomfortable. It can be fatal.

Read More Show Less
Nearly 250 U.S. oil and gas companies are expected to file for bankruptcy by the end of next year. Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Fracking companies are going bankrupt at a rapid pace, often with taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives, leaving harm for communities, taxpayers, and workers, the New York Time reports.

Read More Show Less
Trump introduces EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an event to announce changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Jan. 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The changes would make it easier for federal agencies to approve infrastructure projects without considering climate change. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A report scheduled for release later Tuesday by Congress' non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the Trump administration undervalues the costs of the climate crisis in order to push deregulation and rollbacks of environmental protections, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, voiced support for safe reopening measures. www.vperemen.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA

By Kristen Fischer

It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Critics charge the legislation induces poor communities to sell off their water rights. Pexels

By Eoin Higgins

Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.

Read More Show Less