The cost of inaction on climate change too high

2009-10-22 15:01

THE cost of inaction towards sustainable development will far

exceed the cost of moving towards a low carbon economy.

So said Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, speaking at the United

Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Global Roundtable

session in Cape Town today.

He said the current economic crisis gives us the opportunity to

assess the need for sustainable finance and sustainable practices.

‘‘The G20 has made progress in reshaping the rules governing

collective finance practices. The G20 has begun to raise questions about the

need for a post crisis economic model… one that takes account of emerging

countries.

‘‘Will short terms and greed be mitigated in the future? Will

profit be the sole driver of innovation in the future? Is there the opportunity

and - more importantly - the leadership to shift paradigms?’’

He urged banks to review their carbon strategies to facilitate

finance for sustainable development and for private enterprises to be involved

in climate concerns.

He said that financing sustainability could be the new way to help

give the six billion people on the planet a set of public goods that would help

meet the climate change crisis.

At a recent global editor’s conference on climate change held in

Copenhagen, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said the world has come a

long way in addressing the challenges around climate change.

‘‘By now many countries have developed far reaching national

emission reduction policies. They are developing low carbon development

plans.

‘‘They realise that the green agenda is vital to combat global

warming and at the same time part of the solution to the current ecocnomic

crises.’’

* Representatives from the world’s top banks and financial

institutions have converged on Cape Town for a two day summit to discuss ideas

and negotiate with governments on climate change ahead of the Copenhagen summit

in December.

It is hoped that a new treaty to protect the planet’s environment

will be signed there. The treaty will replace the Kyoto Protocol which expires

in 2012.


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