FINANCING low carbon technologies should be a global priority, according to a side event co-hosted by IChemE at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco.
Investing in the Planet: Green banks and other financial tools to scale-up mitigation technologies was a joint event with Imperial College London and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Robert Gross, Director of Imperial's Centre for Energy Policy and Technology, chaired the session, which looked at practical solutions to meeting the climate commitments made at COP21 in Paris in 2015. The session looked at how chemical engineers and financial institutions specifically could help.
Rachael Hall from the IChemE Energy Centre Board gave the first presentation of the event, which looked at the technologies currently available to mitigate climate change and move towards a zero carbon economy. Hall referenced IChemE’s technical policy document, Chemical Engineering Matters. She looked at smart energy networks and the use of CCS as a bridging technology.
“Our reliance on fossil fuels will not stop overnight, but IChemE’s energy vista shows how chemical engineering can support a variety of solutions. We need to make better use of waste streams, we need to integrate our processes and ensure each and every Joule of energy is efficiently used,” she said.
Mark Apsey, also an Energy Centre Board member looked at the pathways towards energy efficiency for companies and the potential roadblocks they may face. He said that more must be done to incentivise or enforce efficiency technologies, whether by direct intervention from the government through a climate change tax or offering rewards, and by pressuring companies to report annual emissions. Three areas must be tackled if the COP21 commitments are to be met – energy security, energy affordability and low carbon energy efficiency.
“Currently the low carbon element is the lowest priority for government – that is understandable, but the 2050 targets can only be achieved if all three work together. We need clearer and longer=term strategies that give confidence to investors and organisations to implement projects,” he said.
In his presentation, Charles Donovan from Imperial Business School looked at innovative financing through the use of ‘green banks’.
“Innovative finance through green banks can reduce interest rate risks and generate scale. If the capital costs are covered by governments, the opportunity for growth by investors is increased. More public funds are needed to reduce capital costs for private sector investors,” he said.
The event was streamed live on YouTube and can be viewed on the UNFCCC YouTube channel.
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