With 2015 to 2019 as the hottest five-year period ever measured and climate impacts getting ever more severe and frequent, the immediate and determined implementation of the goals mutually agreed on in the Paris Agreement is more urgent than ever. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has therefore invited governments, the private sector, civil society and international organisations to the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 starting today in New York. Focussing on ambitious solutions and announcements of more ambitious climate targets, the summit is meant to be the starting signal for a “race to the top”.
On 22 and 23 May, 900 decision-makers from countries, regions and cities as well as stakeholders and experts from around the world convened for the International Conference on Climate Action (ICCA 2019) in Heidelberg. Their aim: strengthening mitigation and adaptation measures, especially in urban areas, by improving coordination and cooperation across all levels of government and with civil society and the private sector.
In Japan, this year's G20 host, awareness of climate-related risks has risen in recent years. However, the road to a fully sustainable financial system is still long.
Not only cities and municipalities, but also the real estate industry are driving the market for green bonds in Sweden, making the country a pioneer in sustainable finance. However, there are still no binding standards.
China is following ambitious green finance plans – also for its investments overseas. But some standards are too low and should be tightened. So far, coal investments have also been considered green if the projects are "cleaner".
For Canada, the concept of a sustainable finance is still relatively new. But its importance is growing steadily and can become a model of success for the country.
Already in 2015, France adopted a law on climate risk disclosure paving the way for protecting economic systems from the consequences of climate change. But others need to follow.
The role sustainable lifestyles can play in achieving a paradigm shift to sustainability is acknowledged in both the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement of 2015. They can be defined as “responsible living with our total surrounding and ourselves”, thus including aspects like global equity (see previous blogpost). Nevertheless, the vast majority of scientific literature focuses on ecological sustainability.
The small country in the heart of Europe portraits itself as a leader in "sustainable finance". Already in 2007, the first green bonds were issued and now there is also a "green" stock exchange. However, demand and reality do not coincide enough.
The year 2019 will be key for future climate policy in Germany and Europe. Finance plays a key role in improving climate protection and sustainable growth.
To this end, Germany should learn from pioneering countries for “Green Finance”. In the seven articles in our series, international authors will therefore explain their country's approach towards a green financial system, addressing opportunities, hurdles and unanswered questions.