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📄 "COP26: Mobilizing Trillions in Climate Finance"

Political Climate

Photo by Jordhan Madec / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Hosts: Brandon Hurlbut, Shane Skelton & Julia Pyper
Guest: Justin Guay | Director for Global Climate Strategy | The Sunrise Project
Category: 📄 Carbon Policy

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[10:22] “What the $130 trillion [commitment from the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ)] means is that the balance sheet of every financial institution that has signed up to GFANZ […] is counted towards that figure. So basically, it's all of the assets of all of these institutions theoretically pledged towards being managed to a net zero transition by 2050. On the surface, that seems like a big deal. […] The problem is, as soon as you lift up the hood, and look underneath, there's not a whole lot there. And worryingly […], they are pretty clearly trying to avoid the tough decisions. Namely, what are we going to do about the finances falling to coal, oil and gas. […] $4 trillion has been lent from global banks around the world to fossil fuels, just since the Paris Agreement alone. All those same banks have joined GFANZ. And the question becomes if you didn't get the message in Paris, are you getting the message in Glasgow? Are you really going to change? And I think that's the the healthy skepticism that GFANZ has been met with here in Glasgow.”

[11:46] “The thing to remember is that GFANZ is an alliance of alliances. […] The Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative […] announced their targets earlier in the week, and the average of the asset managers that contributed their pledges to that initiative was 35%, which means the other 65% of their portfolio can keep on wrecking the place, financing coal, oil and gas. And I think that's pretty problematic when you think about where we are today, how long we've known about the climate problem, the fact that these institutions are showing up to these incredibly important global events and saying, we are 35% in.”

[13:18] “My optimism would lie in the notion that I believe that the global community is increasingly paying close attention to corporate America, increasingly close attention to financial institutions. And I think that there is value in bringing them into the conversation and getting them to make these commitments even as abstract and high level as they are, because I very much believe that the pressure is only going to increase to actually deliver. And I think that this is going to force them to start having some of those harder conversations where the rubber really meets the road.”

[14:54] “GFANZ is a voluntary initiative. So this is about what companies and financial institutions are willing to do of their own accord. We all know that there is only so far that companies can go before they hit a certain boundary of what they're willing to do. And so what the UK government has done is set out a path towards real regulation, trying to actually force the financial institution to begin to plan that transition. And so the most important thing that came out of that announcement is that they're going to mandate transition plans for every company in the United Kingdom. That's a really big deal as a global financial center […]. And so what they're doing is both directly impacting a significant number of companies and a significant amount of financial flows, but they're also setting a global bar and a global precedent.”

[18:00] “I certainly hope that the United States follows the UK's lead, but I'm not holding my breath. So right before we joined the party in Glasgow, the Treasury helped to release a much anticipated report from the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which did establish climate as a systemic risk […] on par with the 2008 subprime crisis […]. Climate will be the next version of that financial meltdown, is essentially what they said, which should open the door to actual regulation and moves like this to force companies to establish transition plans for banks to stop lending to coal, oil and gas. But they stopped well short of getting to those […] firm measures. So I don't think that right now the United States is anywhere near the kind of leadership that the UK is just shown here.”

[25:17] “The thing for people to take away from the negotiations is not being cynical or jaded or worried about the future of the planet, because we haven't come to some global agreement. That's not the actual value of these talks. The actual value of these talks is that they serve as a forcing function for all of the commitments, […] all kinds of action, small and large. And I think everybody should be keeping their eyes on whether or not these commitments that are being announced here in Glasgow are actually executed. And then we deliver in the real world because what we do and say and talk about and Glasgow is not what matters. What matters is what we do tomorrow and the day after and the day after, because we have a long road to walk.”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 47 min | 🗓️ 11/12/2021
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