Maximizing finance for climate action

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Photo: World Bank / Simone D. McCourtie

Imagine a world where communities are better prepared to handle the threats that climate change poses to our homes, lives, and health.  In this future world, there will be greater resilience built into infrastructure – including our roads, our cities, and towns. Imagine a world where all communities have access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy, waste management services, transport systems and sustainable forests and agricultural practices. Our societies will have smart and scalable solutions built into every sector of our economies.

This is why gatherings like Innovate4Climate - the conference I’m attending next week - are so important.   We need great ideas from all corners of society and we need to come together to spark even better ideas. 
The World Bank Group (WBG) works to address climate change because we recognize the threat it presents: communities around the world are facing worsening floods, more intense droughts, rising sea levels, and more frequent natural disasters, with the poorest people disproportionately affected.
If we continue with business as usual, 100 million people will be pushed back into poverty by 2030; and by 2050, more than 140 million will be forced to leave their homes in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South Asia. We have an urgent global responsibility to limit the rise in global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. And this will require a coordinated global action at an unprecedented scale and speed.
In 2016, the WBG adopted an ambitious Climate Change Action Plan to align climate action with development and increase the climate-related share of our lending to 28% by 2020. We are well on our way to meeting and even exceeding the Plan’s targets. In 2017, we financed a record $12.8bn in climate action in developing countries around the world.
Still, the scale of the challenge before us is daunting. The financing required for a global transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy can be counted in the trillions, not billions. But trillions don’t appear from thin air.
This is where the private sector can help. Invest4Climate was created by the World Bank and the UN to bring together public finance, policy reforms and innovative financing to mobilize more private sector funding for climate action.
For example, in Indonesia, we are supporting the development of a geothermal credit facility to channel $650 million of investment, including $325 million from the World Bank, into clean, geothermal energy exploration.  The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has structured a complementary blended-finance product to support downstream geothermal activities financed by the private sector.
In Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, we are partnering with civil society and 22 companies to figure out how to grow more cocoa on less land to address deforestation and land degradation.
With the right intervention, we can turn the ominous threat of climate change into opportunities that secure each country’s economic future and bring us closer to a climate-resilient world. 


Hartwig Schafer

Former Vice President, South Asia Region, World Bank

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