Independent efforts by national governments to finance sustainability are important, but because the biosphere is global, environmental policy must be coordinated globally. Since the world does not have a global government capable of establishing hard law, the UNFCCC climate negotiations have so far led the development of a global framework for financing climate policy. However, there is a separate policy system that has long been capable of making decisions influencing massive financial flows worldwide: the financial sector itself.
This year’s World Economic Forum in Davos has Resilient Dynamism as its watchword. The focus will be on growth that can withstand shocks and sustain, among other things, “affordable supplies of critical natural resources.” Five years of volatile food, mineral, and energy prices have added to the sense of urgency among business leaders and politicians to build more resilient economies.
This year sees the launch of the UN Sustainable Energy for All initiative, with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon creating a high-level group to mobilize action. We support the goals of this initiative but – like other observers – we feel it requires more ambition and focus. Key priorities should be reducing poverty through access to modern energy services, and ensuring equitable access to electricity and consumption of energy resources (such as gas, oil and biomass).
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