G20 Boosts the Collective Effort for Taking Climate Responsibility

By Yi Wang

The recent G20 declaration in India seems to seek stability in an increasingly uncertain global landscape.

Across the world, leaders are grappling with significant challenges ranging from inflation and unemployment to societal isolation and alienation exacerbated by social media. The climate crisis further heightens anxiety which has become a top priority for all parties, emphasizing the importance of cooperation.

The month of August witnessed hectic diplomatic activity involving the United States, the United Kingdom, and China. In the final week of the month, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visited China for high-level discussions. Their visit followed the July trips by prominent figures, including U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry, the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, and the Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol. Despite the scorching weather, these influential individuals gathered from different sides of the globe, demonstrating not only their physical endurance but also a shared commitment to collaboration in addressing the worldwide challenge of climate change for the benefit of all.

Starting from the 1990s, the effects of global warming-induced heat waves have led to trillions of dollars in losses across the globe. The International Labour Organization (ILO) predicts that by 2030, extreme heat will reduce global working hours by over 2%, equivalent to the loss of 80 million full-time jobs and costs of USD 2.4 trillion. According to The Deloitte Economics Institute, an estimated 43% of workers in the region of Asia Pacific are employed in vulnerable industries driven by natural disasters and net-zero transition, such as agriculture, conventional energy, manufacturing, transportation, and construction. China and India, respectively account for 48% and 43% of the global total workforce vulnerable. All of us must adapt to the increasingly prevalent effects of climate change, which have become distressingly normalized.

From November 30 to December 12, the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) is set to convene in the United Arab Emirates. There remain questions about whether could reach any consensus on the responsibilities of emissions. An effort to boost negotiations to reach a common ground of cooperation would be the most ideal outcome. Nobel laureate Mother Teresa once remarked that “not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love”. There are some things that the ultimate goal of tackling climate change could be achieved.

At COP26 and COP27, countries have recognized that the limit of 1.5C requires more ambitious actions, while it is incremental progress to reduce emissions and not something that could be done in haste as expected. Notably, existing disparities in climate action between the developed countries (Global North) and developing countries (Global South) have engendered persisting debates over the goal of emissions and the allocation of funding.

I believe that to enhance efficiency, both climate policies and action plans should underscore the subsequent fundamental aspects. By prioritizing these factors, all stakeholders can delve into viable innovative strategies and expedite the establishment of mutually advantageous multilateral accords. Two takeaways are pointed out below.

1. In formulating financial risk regulation policies, it is essential to bolster the exchange of climate information among entities of both the public and private sectors. This helps to improve market transparency, uphold financial stability, and adequately address the escalating requirement for climate-related investments.

Climate risks transcend conventional geographic boundaries and possess the potential to swiftly escalate on a global scale, giving rise to interconnected worldwide crises. Effectively preventing and managing climate risks relies heavily on the transparent sharing of information, and this should be above any geopolitical rivalry. A lack of awareness among the general population about these risks could hinder the implementation of proactive preventive measures. Inside information related to the development of low-carbon and emissions reduction could be transformed into public resources and knowledge through the internet platform ecosystem.  

Therefore, it is crucial to promote the widespread dissemination of climate-related information and encourage increased collaboration among various stakeholders. This encompasses a wide array of aspects, including data on risk exposure, carbon assets, methodologies for stress testing, and practical experience in scenario analysis. All these components should be easily accessible. Working together for the exchange of information and the exploration of best practices, stakeholders can enhance each of problem-solving capabilities, contributing to both localized and global financial stability.

2. Global tech firms and investors share a collective responsibility to actively support worldwide initiatives through diverse funding avenues. Promoting collaborative efforts among climate technology-oriented enterprises to establish a "Climate Joint Fund" stands as an important step in achieving the circulation of scientific technology and fostering global innovation.

This proactive approach not only secures long-term financial gains but also underscores commitment to corporate social responsibility. Renegotiating global trade rules is central to promoting digital technologies applied to climate issues. The goal is to increase opportunities for more parties to engage in climate technology development and control climate risks to a certain extent.

The investor spectrum for the "Climate Joint Fund" should encompass enterprises, business leaders across nations, international banks, investment funds, insurance companies, and philanthropic organizations. In the asset allocation process, the partnerships between the funds, professional bodies, industry associations, and societal partners can provide policymakers with more vision advancing climate technology. Examples include efficient waste systems, smart grids, electric vehicle charging, energy-efficient buildings, and lighting technology. New jobs generated from renewable energy sectors are beneficial in every country's interest.

The advancement of human civilization depends on our capacity to adapt, evolve, and share knowledge gained from our experiences. Every nation and individual should embrace an environmentally conscious approach and actively engage in efforts to combat climate change.

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