Acknowledging the energy crisis and high cost of living, the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, supported by more than 45 partners, launched on January 17 the Giving to Amplify Earth Action (GAEA), a global initiative to fund and grow new and existing public, private and philanthropic partnerships to help unlock the $3 trillion of financing needed each year to reach net zero, reverse nature loss and restore biodiversity by 2050.
The initiative could also help fulfill the recent agreement at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal to conserve 30 percent of all earth and sea amidst the biodiversity crisis.
McKinsey CEO Bob Sternfels said his company will support GAEA’s aim to better connect philanthropic capital with public and private sector efforts to strengthen climate and nature solutions.
Over the next 12 months, supported by McKinsey Sustainability as a knowledge partner, GAEA will work with founding members to build momentum around three clear objectives: convene leaders from the public, private and philanthropic sectors to identify and target climate and nature solutions where they are best positioned to play a catalytic role; pilot and refine funding models that can support public-private partnerships interventions and scale up and replicate successful approaches to new sectors, regions and actors.
“We are at a tipping point in our efforts to put the planet back on track to meet our climate ambitions. To reach the speed and scale required to heal the Earth’s systems, we need to unlock not only private capital and government funds, but also the philanthropy sector as a truly catalytic force to achieve the necessary acceleration,” World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab said in Davos.
Philanthropic financing for climate mitigation still low
Philanthropic financing for climate mitigation has risen in recent years, but it still represents less than 2 percent of total charitable giving, estimated at $810 billion in 2021, according to the World Economic Forum.
Egypt’s International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat noted that this call to action is extremely timely, as it builds on the directions set during the November 2022 Climate Change Conference, or COP 27, in the Sinai Peninsula resort Sharm El-Sheikh. “We need more philanthropies to join us at the table and help scale up multilateral development bank finance to unlock private investments to accelerate the green transition,” she said, adding that Egypt will work closely with the World Economic Forum to build effective and impactful philanthropic public private partnerships, and promote the role of “P” – philanthropy.
Credible transition plans are needed to reach net-zero emissions
On January 18, in a wide-ranging address, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged leaders gathered for the Annual Meeting to put forward credible and transparent transition plans to achieve net-zero emissions and to submit their plans before the end of the year. “The transition to net zero must be grounded in real emissions cuts – and not rely essentially on carbon credits and shadow markets. That’s why we (the UN) created an Expert Group on Net-Zero Emissions Commitments,” he said.
A new report, Securing the Energy Transition, published on January 12 by the World Economic Forum, proposes a comprehensive framework that provides a strategic blueprint to make security and resilience the backbone of a transitioning energy system, and 10 actions to align current interventions to address the energy crisis with long term energy transition goals.
“The energy crisis has brought energy security to the forefront of political and corporate agendas and prompted the need to develop responses that are adapted to how the energy system has evolved and to where it needs to transition,” said Roberto Bocca, head of WEF’s Shaping the Future of Energy, Materials and Infrastructure. He argued that what is now a global crisis is a real opportunity to steer a more direct course towards a secure, sustainable, and affordable energy future for everyone. Bocca called for radical collaboration and a pragmatic approach to confront the complexities of the energy transition with immediate actions.
Espen Mehlum, head of the Energy, Material and Infrastructure Program at the World Economic Forum, highlighted the global impact of the energy crisis. “The world cannot afford short-term fixes to the energy crisis which could increase future risks to climate and energy equity. The good news is that the crisis offers an opportunity for interventions that balance energy security with an effective low-carbon transition,” she said.
Preparations for COP27 and COP28 proceeding
Meanwhile, EU climate negotiators are meeting in Stockholm on January 18-19 under Sweden’s rotating EU Presidency to access COP27 and to plan for COP28 in Dubai and for COP29, which will be held in Eastern Europe in the autumn of 2024.