EBRD pushes for progress at COP24 in Poland

By Vanora Bennett

The EBRD at COP24

International climate change conference discusses alignment with 2015 Paris Agreement 

The EBRD will call for urgent action to step up the global fight against climate change at the COP24 international conference beginning on Monday in Poland. It will be the first major climate gathering since October’s stark warning by UN scientists that time was running out for efforts to curb global warming.

The two-week talks in Katowice, Poland, are the “rulebook COP”. The aim is determine the rules of implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement which aims to keep the average global temperature rise at “well below” 2C above pre-industrial temperatures, and to “pursue efforts towards 1.5C”.

The report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in October, called for “unprecedented” efforts to limit the rise to 1.5C, which would require “rapid and drastic reductions” to reach net zero emissions by 2050. If global temperatures continue to rise at the present rate, the report forecast that the earth’s average temperature could rise 1.5C as soon as 2030 and 3C by the end of the century, causing irreversible damage to the environment.

“The IPCC special report brings a new sense of urgency to act decisively both in terms of scale and timing,” said Josué Tanaka, EBRD Managing Director, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change. “In Katowice, the international community needs to reflect this by accelerating climate action, and to ensure that the Paris goals become reality.”

“The EBRD is on track with its climate finance commitments made in Paris in 2015, and together with other MDBs (Multilateral Development Banks) we are working on shaping a future in line with the Paris Agreement. This work, and the results it brings, are more acutely needed than ever,” he added.

In 2015, the EBRD pledged to increase the volume of its green financing to 40 per cent by 2020. Its Green Economy Transition (GET) approach puts investments that bring climate and environmental benefits at the heart of its mandate. In 2017 it reached a record 43 per cent.

The EBRD is a major investor in climate finance in many of the 38 emerging economies where it works, a driving force in energy efficiency projects, a pioneer in the development of renewable energy sources and an important player in adaptation to climate change.

In Katowice - where COP24 will bring together over 25,000 environment and climate change specialists from nearly 200 countries - the EBRD will report on progress in several areas in delivering its climate finance objectives.

EBRD programmes that contribute towards Paris alignment include: 

·        EBRD Green Cities, a programme that identifies, prioritises and connects cities’ environmental challenges with sustainable infrastructure investments and policy measures. Cities already account for 70 per cent of energy use and 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, and are major drivers of climate impacts;

·        Green Economy Finance facilities (GEFFs), providing credit lines to financial institutions for on-lending to clients making green technology and energy efficiency investments;

·        Work with individual countries on setting post-2020 climate action plans, known as as Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs. The EBRD works with the NDC Partnership in delivering such assistance;

·        Technology transfer mechanisms to increase the market penetration of climate technologies, such as the EBRD’s Finance and Technology Transfer Centre for Climate Change and Technology selector.

As global thinking develops on how to meet the Paris requirements, the EBRD’s experience supporting the reshaping of economies in carbon-intensive regions and its long-term emphasis on working with the private sector makes it a natural leader in several emerging areas of activity. The EBRD works closely with other MDBs in areas such as GHG accounting standards and climate finance tracking.

As well as the EBRD’s focus on energy efficiency, renewables and green cities, the Bank is now putting additional focus on climate adaptation. As the leading MDB for providing adaptation finance to the private sector, the Bank has a portfolio of more than 200 signed GET climate resilience investments.

The EBRD is using its expertise in mobilising large volumes of private sector finance to boost green investment in climate mitigation and adaption. Working with multilateral donors – including the European Union, Climate Investment Funds, Green Climate Fund and Global Environment Facility – the EBRD has thus far raised over €1.5 billion in public financing, and leveraged this with over €18 billion in private financing.

It has also been working with a range of partner organisations to advance thinking on measuring and disclosing climate-related financial disclosures.

Technical sessions led by the EBRD at Katowice will discuss: scaling-up technology transfer; handling climate finance risk disclosure; new horizons for climate finance; supporting both potential winners and losers in the transition to the green economy; implementing green finance in COP24’s host country Poland; supporting individual countries with NDCs; leveraging the private sector in cooperation with the Climate Funds (GCF, GEF and CTF); and good governance for Corporate Climate Disclosure.

Since 2006, the EBRD has invested more than €28 billion in almost 1,600 projects leading to reductions in CO2 emission of more than 93 million tonnes per year.