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The excitement around clean energy access through distributed renewable energy has a good basis in real world experience. By creating the right policy and regulatory conditions, international clean energy access initiatives can help other countries benefit from greater access to electricity through distributed renewable energy.

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The participation of the private sector in financing the transition to low-carbon, climate resilient (LCR) economies is critical. While public finance and policy interventions can mobilise significant levels of private finance, the ability to estimate such mobilisation is currently limited.

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The International Development Finance Club (IDFC)—a group of international, national, and regional development banks based in the developed and the developing world—released its annual report on green investment (i.e. mitigation, adaptation and ‘other’ environmental finance which includes environmental protection and remediation related projects)—as the world’s climate negotiators were meeting in Lima, and its numbers are significant.

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Adaptation finance accountability is key to addressing obligations of national governments and international organizations to provide support, but actual funding decisions are often made without involving the populations hit first and worst by climate change, or without understanding how communities are vulnerable.

So who is accountable for making good use of adaptation funds, and who should hold whom accountable?

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Making the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy is going to take a lot of investment, and the limited budgets of the public sector can’t tackle it alone.

But by targeting their support, governments can create incentives for significant private investment into climate activities; in other words, they can “mobilize” private investment.

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China’s outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) has been increasing dramatically. During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, global foreign direct investment (FDI) decreased by 40%, whereas China’s OFDI increased by 8% (UNCTAD, 2013).

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A new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Getting Energy Prices Right: From Principle to Practice, argues that the costs of coal, natural gas, gasoline, and diesel fail to account for these fuels’ environmental and social impacts—such as greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and traffic deaths.

Setting prices that reflect these side effects—through taxes, licensing, or cap-and-trade systems—could reduce deaths from fossil fuel-related air pollution by 63 percent, decrease global carbon dioxide emissions by 23 percent, and generate revenues totaling about 2.6 percent of global GDP.

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There’s a growing gap between current investment in low-carbon energy and what’s needed to meet world demand while avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. The good news is there’s sufficient capital and investor interest to close much of this gap.

However, policies that encourage market certainty and level the playing field between different energy sources are needed to attract the volume of investment required, according to a special International Energy Agency (IEA) report, the World Energy Investment Outlook, released this month.

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While investment from more developed countries has remained about the same in recent years, China’s flows to Africa have increased significantly, fueling excitement about development and concern about the effects on the environment and communities.

As China’s impact increases, it can take steps now to make sure it sets a new standard for responsible lending and investment in Africa.

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Investors face growing pressure to reduce the negative environmental and social impacts of their investments. In trying to do so they are confronted with the question of how to interact with governments in the countries where they invest.

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The World Bank consistently makes the link between poverty elimination and the need to curb climate change. Yet a WRI analysis shows that of the investments the World Bank financed between 2012 and 2013, only one-quarter addressed climate change risks.

Dr. Karin Kemper, director of climate policy and finance in the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Climate Group, shares the Bank's current and future plans to more fully incorporate climate change mitigation and adaptation into its international development agenda.

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