Finance ministers, climate champions of our time


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In 2015, we made history in Paris by agreeing to keep global warming "well below 2 degrees," an commitment that spoke to the urgency of the time. Fast forward to 2018, and the world’s leading climate scientists issued a stark warning: climate impacts at 1.5 degrees of warming will be worse than previously thought; the window of opportunity to act is fast closing; and the difference between 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees is huge. At 2 degrees of warming, floods would be 170% worse, grain production could be up to 20% lower, and corals 100% extinct.

To achieve a low-carbon future, we need economic transformation at the magnitude and scale that the world has never seen: a new industrial revolution, focused on clean technologies, on resilience, and on decoupling economic growth from emissions. But this discussion has largely been constrained to climate negotiators, and ministries of environment or foreign affairs. Those who define the economic priorities of a country, and the national budgets - the finance ministers  - have been largely absent in this discussion. In April 2019, that changed with the launch of the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action.

The leaders behind this effort, Finance Ministers from Chile and Finland, led their counterparts in over 25 countries to endorse six “Helsinki Principles” that promote national climate action, especially through fiscal policy and the use of public finance.

Historically, finance ministers have discussed fiscal responsibility, stability of the financial markets, or economic growth. Here, they talk about the same, but in climate code: they commit to support the implementation of the Paris agreement, incorporate climate risk in macroeconomic planning, budgets, public infrastructure management, and support green public procurement.

But perhaps the most innovative is their efforts to mobilize the private sector to support investments and develop a financial sector that supports adaptation and mitigation to climate change. This issue has been addressed by some private banks, including a network of 34 central banks, but the political managers that regulate this sector have never been involved. Indeed, for the finance ministers, who must address the growing expense in recovery from natural disasters and who see the virtues in reducing energy costs with clean technologies, addressing climate change is akin to good stewardship of public finances. Their commitment to the implementation of the Paris agreement, to mobilize national budgets and the private sector, to build a low-emissions, resilient-economy, is something that brings me great hope and optimism.

Of course, no one has all the answers to arguably the most challenging global issue of our time. That is why finance ministers are committed to collaborating and exchanging the best practices. The Helsinki principles remind us that the threat of climate change and the opportunities provided by the climate economy require a systematic effort by the entire government, with the private sector as an important catalyst.  Fortune recently put out an article stating that central bankers are the unlikely new climate activists.  I would also include ministers of finance. As Jeffrey Sachs said: This is perhaps the most important coalition that has been created around climate change. And as a former minister of the environment who has participated in many coalitions, I could not agree more.


Marcelo Mena Carrasco

Practice Manager, Climate Research and Analytics, Climate Change Group

Lambert Kabemba
November 29, 2019

We are one ONG Kabinda Santé , so we are there for the developpement and Climate Change .


Kabemba Lambert

mohammad hoissein javadi
November 29, 2019

I think the best dream for all the world will be "thinking alike" and A Prosperous Future for Future Generation.

Fermin Francisco
November 29, 2019

Finance ministers united for climate action is great news for all humanity! Now the Coalition and its allies should inspire corporate sectors worldwide to join the fight. How? By using the profit motive as 'carrot' to popularize social 'intrapreneurship' for planetary good. The vision: 1st World companies create CSR-focused 'clean and green' joint ventures with 3rd World mega co-ops, Climate Funds assisting. Employee-owned co-ops address wealth disparities. Joint ventures 3rd World-wide will transform billions of poor into employees, which means massive markets for all involved companies and rising salaries for their employees. High-profit green joint venture prospects (for the Philippines) include thousand-hectare agroforestry, ethanol and flex-fuel transports, mini-hydropower, geothermals, commercial biogas, forest resorts, etc. Indeed if vanguard joint ventures and their allies prove that CSR action can yield good income, everyone else will likely join the bandwagon!

November 29, 2019

Congratulations Marcelo. The role that must be played by the Finance Ministers is paramount in tackling climate change and this blog outlines their critical role in a succinct way!

Yexenia Villanueva
November 29, 2019

Estimado Sr. Marcelo Mena
Junto con saludarlo y desearle éxito en todos su proyectos, le escribo porque estoy organizando la 2da versión del "Congreso Regional Escolar del Cuidado y Protección del Medio Ambiente, Tarapacá" (en colaboración con INACAP Iquique, PAR Explora Tarapacá y Compañía Pesquera Camanchaca). En éste diferentes colegios y liceos de la Región exponen proyectos de ciencias naturales o desarrollo tecnológico que responden a problemáticas ambientales.
Mi consulta es si usted conoce alguna empresa o institución que pudiese aportar para darle mas realce a este congreso, por ejemplo, premios para los equipos ganadores o stands interactivos referentes a medio ambiente.
Quedo atenta a sus comentarios y consultas
Me despido, invitándolo a ser parte de esta iniciativa

Yexenia Villanueva Carreño
Coordinadora del Departamento de Ciencias
Colegio Diocesano Obispo Labbé, Iquique, Chile
Fono: +56975837825