Financing Climate Innovation and Energy Transition
In one of history’s greatest setbacks, the Eastern Mediterranean, once the cosmopolitan center of global commerce and connectivity, is paying the price in isolation, low productivity growth, capital flight, and limited investment for five centuries of imperialism, war, corruption, autocracy, political fragmentation, and violence. It now also faces acute challenges related to global warming and energy transition.
But just as crucial signs warn that things must change, we find encouraging signs that they will. Geopolitical, environmental, and economic interests are aligning in such a way that could, if we let them, rebuild inter-regional trade; propel economic growth, climate change mitigation and adaptation; and lay the groundwork for sustained cooperation and reconnection on social and cultural levels.
COP 26, the UN’s committee of nation’s participating in climate smart policies and practices in Glasgow earlier this month, was not the resounding success many had hoped for, despite admonitions that we have just a few decades remaining to act to prevent several major tipping points in the Earth’s climate system. Leaders of the world’s major powers, Russia, China, and Brazil among them, stayed away. Still, an overwhelming number of countries plus five development banks pledged to stop using public funds to finance overseas “unabated” fossil fuel projects, i.e., those operating without technology to capture and sequester carbon, and instead resolved to redirect those funds to support overseas green energy technologies and implement plans for carbon sequestration, renewable energy storage, and other breakthrough climate innovations.