Business as usual «not an option»
Svein Tveitdal is co-founder of Klima2020, and a leading figure on climate and sustainability as a former division director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), as well as working with the UNEP-led climate communication initiative GRID-Arendal, where he spent more than a decade.
«We need change now. We cannot go back to business as usual.»
Tveitdal is referring to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. «If we go back to business as usual, we would have spent all this money on green initiatives without being one step closer to a sustainable future and to reach the climate goals,» he continues. «That is not an option.»
No lack of money
«If we set targets and channel the money into the right solutions, as we do in the vaccine field, changes can be speeded up,» says Terje Osmundsen.
Osmundsen, the former Executive VP of Scatec Solar and a leading business actor in renewable energy, emphasises the key word for rapid change: results-based financing. «Look at the vaccine field. What we lack in the energy field is what we see in the corona vaccine field.»
«When cutting carbon emissions or moving from biomass to renewables in Africa, you could have a results-based financing system to scale it up. What I’m looking more and more into with sustainable finance firms, is that they set targets and stick with those targets.»
«There is no lack of money,» continues Osmundsen, underscoring the willingness of these firms to take more risk than the market, to ensure that such plans can be replicated in other locations.
During the last six months the world has seen a collaborative effort between all branches of society. Working day and night, determined to fight the spread of and find a vaccine for the COVID-19 pandemic, both private firms, public administration and the political leadership have been working together.
Renewables are catching up
So how can we learn from the handling of the pandemic, and how does it apply to financing renewables? It is a question of how to do it the right way, according to the sustainable influencer Tveitdal.
«The market is not as efficient as it should be, even though renewables are catching up. This is due to fossil fuel subsidies. We need cooperation between governments and private businesses, where government sets the rules, so that it is safe and profitable for the private sector to put in the money,» he says. Both Tveitdal and Osmundsen have several ideas for solutions that can help speed up investment in renewables, such as investment models with burden sharing between states and private enterprises.
What needs to be done to achieve a green sustainable revolution in our energy systems? Understanding the infrastructure and industry framework in developing countries can lead to huge opportunities for business to trigger sustainable shifts.
With several decades of experience in the renewables field, Svein Tveitdal and Terje Osmundsen talk about the barriers and possibilities they identify in the current pandemic situation.
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