(Bloomberg) — Climate change is the focus of dozens of events in New York this week, as world leaders, corporate executives, activists and artists all converge for both the United Nations General Assembly and Climate Week.
That includes the Bloomberg Transition Finance Action Forum, hosted Tuesday by the parent company of Bloomberg News. The forum offers a platform for climate finance leaders from the private and public sectors to discuss their views on the progress being made in the global transition to a net zero economy and what more needs to be done.
Speakers include US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad, HSBC Holdings Plc Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn and Prudential Plc Chair Shriti Vadera.
More information about the event can be found online and on the Bloomberg Terminal.
HSBC’s Quinn Says Companies Must Work With Clients on Energy Transition (5:05 p.m. NY time)
Financial institutions need to work closely with clients on their individual energy transition plans to meet their own climate goals, HSBC Holdings Plc Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn said.
“The aggregate of their carbon footprint is the bank’s carbon footprint,” Quinn said at the forum. The best thing a financial services company can do “is to set out very clearly how we are going to work with our customers on the transition plans that they’re going to have to do in their sector of the economy.”
HSBC said earlier this year that it would publish a climate transition plan, and it’s among a number of European lenders that have moved to curtail lending to fossil fuel companies.
EU’s Von der Leyen Touts Private Finance in COP28 Vision (4:45 p.m. NY time)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen touted the role of private finance as part of the EU’s plans for a successful COP28 outcome, saying the bloc would provide the global south with the technical expertise and be an anchor investor in future green bond projects.
“There are no developing countries that have sufficient green bond markets,” she said, saying the EU would provide roughly €1 billion ($1.07 billion) of anchor investment to help spur up to €20 billion of private investment. You need to attract private capital.”
Read More: EU Pledges Help to Build African Green Bond Market
The pitch is part of the EU’s effort to show that it’s doing enough to provide climate finance for the developing world, in exchange for stronger commitments on cutting emissions.
Von der Leyen said a key barometer of success for COP28 would be peaking emissions by 2025 and pledging to get rid of unabated fossil fuels, while tripling the deployment of renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency by 2035.
Poorer countries, however, have repeatedly called for more money to be provided in the shape of grants, as well as the setting up of a new fund to finance the loss and damage caused by climate change.
Read More: London’s Khan Says Sunak Is Weak on Climate Change (Video)
Yellen Presses Companies for ‘Credible Net Zero Commitments’ (4:23 p.m. NY time)
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen unveiled a set of principles she’s asking financial companies to follow to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
They include establishing credible metrics and assessing the alignment of the firms’ clients with their own targets. The principles are aimed at companies that have already made so-called net zero commitments.
“Our goal is to affirm the importance of credible net zero commitments and to encourage financial institutions that make them to take consistent approaches to implementation,” Yellen said at the forum.
Read More: Yellen Pushes Treasury, World Bank on Climate Reckoning
The principles ask financial institutions to have transition plans “with clear practices, targets and metrics,” Yellen said. The companies also “should support their clients and portfolio companies in adopting their own transition plans,” she said.
Researchers have estimated there are more than $3 trillion of global investment opportunities associated with the transition to net zero each year between now and 2050, Yellen said. In the US, this means hundreds of billions of investment opportunities to enhance power generation and the electrical grid, retrofit buildings and make advancements in agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation, she said.
In a call with reporters before her speech, Treasury officials emphasized the principles are voluntary and wouldn’t conflict with the legal duty that many investment firms have to act in the best financial interest of their clients.