Wednesday 23 October 2019

Irish business warned it needs to come up with €20bn to tackle climate change

Stephen Nolan, chair of Climate Finance Week, right, with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, centre, and Colin Hunt, CEO of AIB
Stephen Nolan, chair of Climate Finance Week, right, with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, centre, and Colin Hunt, CEO of AIB

Fearghal O'Connor

Irish business needs to find more than €20bn to finance reforms required to tackle climate change, according to Stephen Nolan, chairman of Climate Finance Week.

More than 2,000 Irish business leaders, financiers, regulators and climate change experts will convene in Dublin for the event from November 4 to 8 to discuss the financial cost of climate change.

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Climate Finance Week Ireland 2019, sponsored by AIB, will consider how banks, asset managers and businesses can fund the projects designed to drastically cut Ireland's carbon footprint.

Governments alone cannot provide enough money to quell the climate crisis, but experts say that the world's financial system does have the resources that are needed, said Nolan.

He is chief executive of Sustainable Nation Ireland, a not-for-profit organisation working to position Ireland as a hub for sustainable finance.

"In a nutshell, our Irish financial system and, indeed, the world's financial system need to be rewired to fight climate change," he said.

"The world has never had so much money. The question is how to harness it for climate change. What needs to happen, and quickly, is for private capital to 'crowd in' on top of Government money to deliver big-ticket projects.

"We've seen this week the very powerful statements in New York at the UN Climate Action Summit and calls for urgent action by activists such as Greta Thunberg. They are of course right, but as far as we are concerned, Climate Finance Week Ireland will seek to answer a key question: 'how best to pay for this?'

"In Irish terms, that means finding an estimated €50bn. The Government, under its Climate Action Plan, has committed to €28bn over 20 years, which means the rest has to come from private capital. And, bluntly, that means getting more private capital involved and quickly."

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