To reflect upon COP26 outcomes and scale up climate innovation and investments, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Brookings Institute hosted the Climate Change Working Group workshop on 17 November 2021 during the 6th Annual Workshop of the Scaling Up Community of Practice (Scaling Up CoP).
In the two-session meeting, panellists and participants engaged in discussions that reviewed COP26 proceedings and suggested ways forward to scale up climate finance and investments for delivering the targets of the Paris Agreement.
‘Looking at COP26, we can say that there was progress in recognising that climate change is happening, thus the need for increased finance for adaptation,’ said Yannick Glemarec, GCF Executive Director. ‘The scale up must be enormous and supported by a variety of financial instruments in addition to grants. Moreover, it will be necessary to get very close to the USD 100 billion goal before COP27 to prevent a trust gap between the parties.’
Glemarec pointed out the COP26 challenges: emission gap, adaptation gap, and finance gap. A fourth at risk of emerging was a credibility gap between developed and developing countries due to the USD 100 billion climate finance goal that is yet to be met. He also noted the risk of credibility gap towards the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process.
Lord Nicholas Stern, Professor of Economics and Government and Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics (LSE), remarked the status of scale regarding the climate agenda. He emphasised the deepening in its general understanding since the Paris Agreement in 2015 that has now led to net-zero commitments.
‘We see an enriched understanding that goes beyond emissions and takes into consideration biodiversity and protection of ecosystems – and that is directly linked with a breakthrough in technologies,’ Stern noted. ‘Moreover, the scale up of people was evident at COP26. It saw massive participation from the private sector and the presence of several prime ministers and heads of states, which was not always the case with previous COPs.’
Amal-lee Amin, Director of Climate Change at CDC Group, stressed three dimensions gleaned from COP26: following up on existing commitments and establishing a clear plan to deliver the need to meet the target of USD 100 billion investments per year; doubling adaptation finance; and optimising the process around climate finance. Amin also added that international stakeholders such as multilateral banks and funds should be involved.
The link between the climate agenda and scaling up climate finance was highlighted by Amar Bhattacharya, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute. Bhattacharya outlined four dimensions of scaling up: cooperation around ambition which points to addressing and managing the limited carbon budget; investments and innovation, highlighting how to do things differently and get ahead of the game, noting that the Technology Breakthrough Agenda was a relevant point from COP26; centrality of policy concerns which refers to the capacity of countries to design and implement a system transformation and carbon pricing; and necessity of finance as scaling up can come through the engagement of the private sector and partnerships with multilateral funds and institutions.
Following the launch of GCF’s innovation Working Paper at COP26, Glemarec also highlighted GCF’s four-pronged approach for green market creation and development. He identified the main barriers to climate innovation in developing countries, many of which are related to the policy and regulatory environment as well as to technical and macro-economic constraints.
GCF’s four-pronged approach to overcome these barriers and to accelerate and scale up climate innovation in developing countries aims to help nurture a supportive regulatory environment and public support in developing countries; deploy GCF resources to accelerate innovation; de-risk investment to deploy new climate solutions at commercial scale; and strengthen domestic financial institutionsth to support the widespread adoption of commercially proven new climate solutions.
Moderated by Bhattacharya and George Zedginidze, Head of Knowledge and Change Management at GCF, the workshop was attended by over 130 participants.