US and UK seek to drive net zero capabilities for developing nations

As US president Joe Biden began an official visit to the United Kingdom the two countries have hosted a meeting in an effort to increase support for emerging and developing economies to accelerate a net zero, resilient transition.

UK energy secretary Grant Shapps and US special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, (pic) staged a Climate Finance Mobilisation Forum with the message to senior business figures that the challenge of net zero transition came with opportunities.

Organisations were invited to present examples of recent and new activities that represent significant investments to drive climate action and harness the environmental, economic, security, and social benefits it brings – building momentum on implementation efforts that contribute to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Shapps said: “Finance is the lifeblood of growing economies. Billions has been spent so far to accelerate the green transition already underway, and the UK is delivering its £11.6bn of International Climate Finance to support countries around the world – but if we want to deliver real change, we must go further and do it together. The scale of this transition requires trillions in private investment in addition to the public funds we are spending.

“Today is about uniting with our US allies and key enablers, using this world-leading expertise for the benefit of not just our own economies but those that will be most affected by climate change impacts – updating The King and President on what we’re doing to set us all on a path to net zero and greater climate resilience by unlocking private investment.

“Building on the US-UK Atlantic Declaration, today isn’t just about cutting emissions, it’s also supporting countries to achieve a secure, cheaper and home-grown energy system – to grow their economy and create jobs.”

It is estimated that by 2030 annual clean energy investment in these countries needs to expand by more than seven times, to above $1 trillion, in order to put the world on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. And that is for clean energy alone; additional investments are needed to reduce non-CO2 emissions, halt deforestation and reverse forest loss, and adapt and build resilience to climate change.

Kerry added: “The climate crisis is here. It’s caused by the unabated burning of fossil fuels, and it’s going to get worse without action.  No government can solve this crisis by itself.  We need to work together with the private sector and philanthropy to speed up the net zero, resilient transition.

“One important outcome of today’s event will be the ideas and potential collaborations that are seeded and the tangible action and ways private finance and philanthropies can collaborate to accelerate action on the road to COP28.

“Since day one, President Biden has taken decisive action to mobilize an unprecedented effort to tackle the climate crisis, and that work continues today in partnership with the UK to raise ambition through concerted action between the public, private, and philanthropic sectors.”

Shapps said currently emerging markets and developing economies account for two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions, and many are highly vulnerable to climate hazards. These economies are crucial for tackling climate change and halting nature’s decline, as well as being key partners for the UK and US in generating shared prosperity from the global transition.

“The UK and US can capture a huge economic opportunity by supporting the global transition, whilst building closer relationships with high growth emerging markets and developing economies as they seek to meet their own financing needs,” he added.

Hosted in Windsor, at the end of the discussions the participants travelled to Windsor Castle to brief His Majesty King Charles III and the president about the conclusions reached.