I approach COP26 positively, as I am basically an optimistic person. I feel I have travelled a long time alone on this journey but now the nations, business and civil society are speaking up and taking action. Of this there is no doubt. The concern is whether they are going to do enough and fast enough. The many competing political and diplomatic issues (Brexit and French fisheries) are distractions from the important goal for our planet. Scientific reports are scary and compel action. There are only faint cries from naysayers and so they cannot account for any significant delay. Chatham House produced a Climate Change Risk Assessment 2021 https://www.chathamhouse.org/2021/09/climate-change-risk-assessment-2021 in September that clearly stated that the world was dangerously off track to meet the Paris Agreement goals ; the risks are compounding and without immediate action there will be devastating impacts in the coming decades. The UK Government is the key mover in this diplomacy with the President of COP, Cabinet Minister Alok Sharma, in place to deliver this. Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson was managing expectations (down) on the likely outcome and the Government’s own preparation and purpose has been less than joined up. By and large the post Covid assistance to business was not tempered by climate or environmental regulation and so an opportunity was lost to embed such good behaviour and work patterns. This is a huge opportunity for Britain to lead the world and surge out of the gloom of Covid and Brexit and show itself a leader on the world’s stage.
I see the opportunity here for the City of London. As the leader in green finance, the City has an economic environment with deep and trusted capital funds and professional expertise, to show how private finance can work alongside public and international funds to help the transition and create a resilient world. This should help answer the question who should pay as our finance systems are rewired – financing green and creating green finance.