Christina F
UN Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres

At this point in time, 2016 – the world population of seven billion uses one and a half times the earth’s resources, just to sustain life. In thirty years from now, it is predicted that we will need twice this amount, but we only have one world, so where will these resources come from?

The answer lies in finance, innovation, technology and indeed the will of every man and woman to come together and make a change.

At COP 21 in Paris in December, this commitment by every nation was made, however as UN Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said at the time “getting people to agree was the easy part.”

The fight against climate change was a topic widely talked about at this year’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. Usually a place where world leaders in industries come together to talk business, this year it was more the point where industry leaders come to realize that unless climate change is addressed and acted upon, their businesses are very definitely under threat.

A panel discussion of investors, a government minister and a UN Executive opened with an interesting statistic – 80 per cent of the audience saying we have to plan for a post fossil fuel future. As we know, the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging there is one in the first place, so this was a positive start.

The debate, unsurprisingly given the audience, centered around climate change in the context of the world economy.

Kenneth Hersh
Kenneth A. Hersh, CEO of NGP Energy Capital Management, USA

The energy investors present made a point that they were not anti climate but pro clean energy and most interestingly, they held this view because they now realize it will pay dividends.

They will continue to act as rational animals; it is their job to identify opportunities and chance for capital gains. But for them to realize that from now on, value lies within the renewable energy sector; this is a turning point.

They have come to realise that they have very much been a part of the problem but also that they can be part of the solution, refocusing their strategies and putting their resources into leveraging renewables.

Christiana Figueres made an interesting and important point with regard to priorities. She said that we must change our language in order to change the approach that we have towards solving these problems. ‘It isn’t about decarbonization, it is about increasing carbon efficiency’. This is important to note as it shifts the mentality that we don’t just need to modify our current behaviour but to find new forms of energy with longer term sustainable activity.

Environmentalists have been advocating and lobbying Governments to resource the renewable energy sector for years. However, we learned at Davos that now we have the support of the “so-called” powerful, the market leaders that can mobilise the world to act. A rising ride can lift many boats. If we all act in solidarity in the change to renewables, the world will reap the benefits for years to come.

By Dearbhla Gavin

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