• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
BW Businessworld

Climate Talks Revolve Around ‘Money, Money And Money’ At WEF 2023

United States climate envoy John Kerry made a case for motivating the private sector to invest their money towards fighting the climate emergency and make them see the virtue of their investments

Photo Credit : WEF


On Tuesday, United States climate envoy John Kerry while speaking at the World Economic Forum, set the tone for climate change talks when he said that the over the years the lessons he has learnt in all these years is that the only way to achieve climate goals is through "money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money."

Kerry was speaking as part of a panel discussion on financing the transition to a low-carbon economy and said that the only way to avoid catastrophic damage caused by climate change was for the governments and companies to spend big.

International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol also cited the lack of investments in clean energy and said that the world needs significant investments.

Citing the current fossil-to-clean energy investment ratio, Birol said, "Today, the world invests USD 1 for fossil fuels and USD 1.5 for clean energy. If we want to reach our 1.5-degree target, this ratio should be 1:9." 

Kerry reiterated his stance on Wednesday while speaking as part of a panel discussion on climate change and asserted that no government can solve the problem of climate change alone.

"Let's understand that no government has enough money to plug those trillions and do what we have to do. So like it or not, we must find a way to create the incentives that bring the private sector to the table," Kerry said.

Kerry made a case for motivating the private sector to invest their money in this space and make them see the virtue of their investments.

"I believe the private sector is ultimately going to do this. I've met a bunch of young entrepreneurs who are doing amazing things in startups, and they're producing new batteries that may have a longer life that allows you to balance your entire grid," Kerry said, highlighting the potential of private investments.

The World Economic Forum says that the record of mobilising private capital for climate action in developing countries needs improving. According to its estimates, the total mitigation and adaptation spending currently amount to an estimated USD 635 billion annually over 2019 and 2020. However, only USD 83.3 billion was mobilised for developing countries in 2020.

Kerry also addressed some concerns in recent days relating to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and said that the basics of the legislation are precisely what the world needs.

"It's going to have a profound, and it's already having a profound impact because it's providing incentives to go out and make the discovery and do the R&D and deploy these new technologies," he said while hailing the Act.

Some European countries had raised concerns about the Act putting their companies at a disadvantage. 

European Commission chief Ursula Von der Leyen on Tuesday announced its green package to counter the IRA and said that it would be part of the EU's Green Deal industrial plan to make Europe a centre for clean technology and innovation.