Stabilizing the global climate is one of the most urgent challenges in coming decades. Our warming world affects all people and ecosystems, particularly the poor who already suffer disproportionately from climate-change impacts.
Although the World Bank has successfully addressed a number of important economic and social risks in its projects, it is falling short in recognizing climate risks. As the World Bank refreshes its long-term strategies, this is a key moment to bring climate change—and more broadly, sustainability—to the forefront of its investment agenda.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has big ambitions: It aspires to become the main global fund for providing climate change finance, contributing to activities like the design of resilient cities and the expansion of low-emission power generation.
While the GCF Board should be ambitious and innovative, they can also look to what’s been done before. Drawing knowledge from the experiences of other critical climate and development funds is one way to ensure that the GCF succeeds.
Readiness is a hot topic for the newly established Green Climate Fund (GCF), as it heads towards its 6th Board meeting in Bali, Indonesia next week. At the meeting, the Board is expected to make a decision on what the GCF’s readiness program will look like. It will likely be narrow in focus, which makes sense based on its limited funding and timeframe. Yet as the GCF moves forward, it is important to remember countries’ broader readiness needs and to be flexible in finding the right institutions to channel funds in the short term.
Climate change mitigation and adaptation investment needs are urgent, significant, and growing. The world will need to devote trillions of dollars into clean energy, sustainable transport, and other green infrastructure to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees C and prevent the worsening effects of climate change. Private sector investment will be critical to achieving the type of low-carbon, climate-resilient growth necessary to secure a sustainable future.
The world will need to spend an estimated US$5.7 trillion annually in green infrastructure by 2020 in order to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees C. This week, it took a step toward creating an institution – the Green Climate Fund – that will be pivotal in achieving this goal.
But while MSMEs can assist in helping vulnerable households adapt to climate change, they are also extremely vulnerable to the impacts of a warmer world, such as intensification of precipitation and shifts in water availability. It’s important that MSMEs overcome these challenges and capitalize on their unique business opportunities in ways that help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change.
This year’s climate negotiations in Warsaw, Poland (COP 19) were a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the summit’s outcomes were dramatically out of step with the level of action needed to solve the climate change problem. A tempting metaphor for the talks was the national stadium in which they were held– one could go around in endless circles in search of the right location.
On the other hand, the Warsaw COP did achieve the incremental outcomes needed to move the process forward. Negotiators put in place a work plan for securing an international climate agreement at COP 21 in Paris in 2015. The COP also made progress on scaling up climate finance and addressing the difficult issue of loss and damage, a process for addressing climate impacts that are difficult or impossible to adapt to. These are small but important steps toward bringing countries out of their repetitive, circular discussions and closer to agreeing collectively on how to address global climate change.
A year after its inaugural meeting, the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) left its fifth meeting in Paris earlier this month with a collective sense of urgency. The GCF is expected to become the main vehicle for disbursing climate finance to developing nations, so the decisions made at this most recent meeting significantly impact the future of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Encouragingly, Board members stepped up to the important task before them, making progress across several key issues. Their decisions made it clear: The GCF’s inception phase (referred to officially as "the interim period") is over—the focus now is on funding it and launching its operations.
Under the new leadership of Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank Group continues to reinvent itself to meet the challenges of global development. That reinvention will continue this Saturday, when the Board of Governors is expected to endorse a new strategy for the institution. If properly implemented across the Group, the strategy could help boost the institution’s contribution to equitable and sustainable development. Two areas of focus will be especially important, including how the Group handles its work on climate change and selects its investments.