Private sector has a key role to play in battle against climate change, says US diplomat
The private sector is “absolutely key to our ability to be able to win” the battle against climate change, according to US climate envoy John Kerry.
Speaking during a session at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday titled “Keeping the pace on climate,” he said the world must find a way to “create the incentives that bring the private sector to the table.”
Governments alone do not have the money required to combat climate change, he added, and so the private sector needs to be involved in the global efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
“I believe the private sector is ultimately going to get on side,” Kerry said. “I’ve met a bunch of young entrepreneurs who are doing amazing things in startups; they’re taking risks, their investors are taking risks, and they’re producing new batteries that may have a longer life that allows you to balance your entire grid. I’ve seen folks who are chasing green hydrogen.”
The number of global users of energy will increase from about 5 billion now to 9 or 10 billion in the next 30 years, he added, with demand for electricity to power services, heat and comfort rising as a result.
“And so this is a marketplace,” Kerry said. “And it has the ability to be able to move very, very rapidly, if we will create the right framework and unleash private-sector ingenuity and innovation and capacity to get this done.”
He expressed optimism about the amount of effort and investment going into new technologies to power renewable energy and limit global warming.
“I am hugely encouraged, I mean much more so than I bet at anytime in the last years, by what is happening right now, which opens up an even greater possibility of achieving this,” he said.
“Because so much human energy is going into the new technologies and the innovations that are occurring, they’re going to multiply and magnify on themselves.”
He said that emissions are still the biggest threat and the world must continue to act to reduce them.
“Our enemy is our emissions, and we have to go after the emissions and, therefore, cannot afford to build out a whole new infrastructure of one fossil fuel or another that is going to be with us for 20, 30, 40 years unless they are able to capture those emissions,” Kerry said.
“We don’t have that indication yet or even that full capacity.”