Finance was a central issue during the negotiations of the Paris Rulebook at COP24. In particular, mobilizing private sector finance will be an important component of reaching the Paris Agreement goals. One panel at the conference in Katowice addressed this issue by focusing on European firms. Speakers included Yvon Slingenberg from the European Commission, Olivier Imbault from BusinessEurope and Air Liquide, Sandrine Dixson-Declève from the Club of Rome, Helena Vines Fiestas from BNP Paribas, Tytti Peltonen from Metsä Group, and Pascal Chalvon from Solvay.
While all panelists were in agreement about the need for private finance investments in decarbonization, they highlighted several issues that need to be addressed in order for the private sector to fully participate in the global climate regime. In particular, the speakers discussed risk, fairness, and communication.
- Olivier Imbault (BusinessEurope and Air Liquide) stressed that private firms need support for research and development, and they also need a way to underwrite the risk of developing new technologies.
- Several speakers mentioned their concerns around fairness, such as establishing a framework to enable fair competition for low-carbon technologies. This would help level the playing field, since fossil fuels are still subsidized in many parts of the world.
- The panel repeatedly indicated that improved communication among stakeholders is sorely needed. Sandrine Dixson-Declève (Club of Rome) pointed out that there are communications lapses both within the private sector and between different sectors. Tytti Peltonen (Metsä Group) underlined this point, suggesting that businesses need a dedicated platform to better participate in climate discussions.
The panel also discussed examples of progress. Helena Vines Fiestas (BNP Paribas) spoke about Climate Action 100+, a group of 300 investors with $32 trillion in assets who are encouraging polluting companies to take climate action. Similarly, each of the speakers represented a company or organization that is dedicated to both profits and decarbonization, illustrating that economic gains and climate action can go together.