As COP27 approaches, where does a fractured world stand on climate change?

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This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Robin Pomeroy, Podcast Editor, World Economic Forum


  • At the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Meeting 2022, delegates urge countries to move from pledges to climate action.
  • Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation of Egypt, says her country is amplifying the voices of developing countries ahead of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.
  • Public, private, philanthropic and NGO sectors need to cooperate to overcome global challenges.

In the run-up to the next climate summit, COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, World Economic Forum President Børge Brende convened a panel of experts at the Sustainable Development Impact Meeting 2022 to take stock of global efforts to tackle the crisis.

Listen to the whole session on this episode of the Agenda Dialogues podcast, or watch it here:

Geo-Economics of Climate Change – transcript

This transcript has been generated using speech recognition software and may contain errors. Please check its accuracy against the audio.

Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum: Good morning from New York. This is the first happening at the World Economic Forum’s meeting on sustainability, taking place during the United Nations General Assembly week, and it is quite natural for us to focus, then, on climate change.

It is really now or never, the United Nations has strongly underlined in the run-up to this week. We have been focussing a lot on why. I think now it is time to really focus on how. But we are reminded every day that climate change is not a thing that will happen for the next generation or grandchildren or children. It is happening here and now, and it can be felt.

We saw yesterday the devastating Hurricane Fiona now hitting Puerto Rico. And this is one of hundreds of examples that the cost of inaction far exceeds the cost of action.

We have a great panel with us this morning to really inaugurate our meeting, starting with Minister Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation of Egypt. We have minister Ville Skinnari, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of Finland. We have the CEO of Yara, Svein Tore Holsether, one of the largest fertilizer companies in the world, and not least Andrew Steer, the CEO and president of Bezos Earth Fund, one of the largest funds when it comes to enhancing the fight against climate change, but also the broader nature-based agenda.

As we also know, and as was also underlined in the presentation video, COP26 was in Glasgow and we’re now moving to Egypt for COP27 in November in Sharm el-Sheikh and Egypt has taken on a very proactive agenda. Minister, I think you even said that now we need to move from pledges to implementation. And how are you going to make sure that that happens in this polarised world where we see that less actors are really talking to each other?

Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation of Egypt: Thank you very much Børge, it’s a pleasure to be here. And as you mentioned, absolutely the climate agenda is a key priority for all countries. And we’re coming out of a double crisis. We just had COVID with countries being affected in different ways. And now there’s the climate issue as well. As we saw in the video that was shown, to address climate, it’s everybody’s role. All stakeholders have to be engaged. Governments have a role to play. The international community, as financing has a role to play, philanthropy has a role to play, and citizens’ awareness, as well.

From pledges to implementation

Rania Al-Mashat: When we say we want to go from pledges to implementation, one of the key highlights that we saw out of Glasgow were the many pledges and for the first time there were very strong pledges from the private sector. And the point is: how can we ensure that these pledges make their way on the ground in countries that need them the most?

There is definitely a financing divide. When we take a look at the landscape of climate finance, we find that it’s very much skewed towards the developed world, whereas those that need it the most to be able to move forward are the developing countries. And that’s why what we have been trying to do over the past several months is pave the way to try and see how different countries can actually move into implementable projects, put in front of everyone projects that could be implemented, so that this concept that countries are not ready with projects, this concept that capital does not know where to go, and try to find innovative financing tools.

Philanthropy plays a very big role. Multilateral development banks play a very big role because of the de-risking factor that can be provided to the private sector. And another very important aspect, just linking to pledges to implementation, is the importance of food security. All of us saw that with what’s happening in Europe. Food security is not just a specific country’s problem or a developing countries’ problem, it’s a global problem. And that’s why this COP is also focussing on adaptation projects. So these are the two points that are key for COP27, and both the G20 and COP27 are from the South — Indonesia and Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt — and again trying to scale up the voices of developing countries and low-income countries.

The Geo-Economics of Climate Change session at the Sustainable Development Impact Meetings 2022 Image: WEF/screenshot

Børge Brende: I guess that walking the talk when it comes to the pledge from Copenhagen of 100 billion USD a year in climate financing is going to be something crucial was already touched on, of course, and discussed at COP26. Where do we really stand there? How big is the gap? Because some people say it’s a gap of 30 billion and some say it’s larger or smaller.

Rania Al-Mashat: Data here is extremely important, and that’s why institutions such as the OECD come forward with doing the accounting. All we know is that it’s definitely short than 100 billion. And when you take a look at the spread across geographies, Africa gets the least, even though it’s most affected by climate and it contributes the least to the climate crisis.

So, you know, when we looked at Glasgow, everybody was so ambitious beyond the 100 billion, we heard trillions and we heard trillions from different actors. So the point is, how can we make sure, whether it’s the billions or the trillions, how do they make their way to the projects on the ground? And that’s why the Egyptian presidency hosted several roundtables in different regions to basically come up with a list of investible projects to be presented to those who have made the pledges and say: “Here are the projects. Let’s try together to see how we can start implementing them, including adaptation and food security projects.”

Børge Brende: Thank you. We’ll come back to the adaptation. I just wanted to have a short follow-up on adaptation. Andrew Steer, we have talked a lot about mitigation and now we’re talking also adaptation. Is that showing that we haven’t succeeded in the mitigation piece? Are you supportive of also now focussing more on adaptation?

Andrew Steer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bezos Earth Fund: Oh, yes. Look. And by the way, first of all, Børge Brende, thank you for what you’re doing at the World Economic Forum. We look forward to this event each year, it’s become a real important event for us. So, thank you very much.

Climate change is here, so we have no choice. We’ve got to fight both on the mitigation side and the adaptation side. And for too long, we have been lulled into this sense that maybe we could solve the problem. Therefore we won’t focus on adaptation. And if we focus on adaptation, that would be admitting we failed. And that, of course, is not the case. So it is a disgrace what’s happening in the poor countries of the world, and it’s a disgrace what is happening to poor people throughout the world. We all know that poor people have not caused the problem, but they’re the ones that suffer most. And it’s time we now put our resources, our political energy, our money where our mouths are.

Børge Brende: Well, thank you, Andrew, and thank you for your leadership on this. Let me now go to Minister Ville Skinnari. We know that in Europe you’re really now trying to square a circle because Europe has big ambitions when it comes to the green transition. But now Europe is also in the middle of a huge energy crisis and how to manage the short-term energy security access problems, without losing the baby with the bathwater, meaning the green transition.

Ville Skinnari, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of Finland: Well, first of all, thank you also from my side, it’s good to be here in New York. I think as a European minister and as a Nordic minister first I want to emphasize that, yes, we have a supply crisis in Europe, but at the same time we have done a lot for the green transition, renewables, including nuclear in a country like Finland.

So we have different portfolios. So there is no ‘one Europe’. Nordic countries have paved the way with a common electricity market. But you are absolutely right that instead of just looking the mirror of what Europe has done wrong, we really have to speed up and do it rapidly at the European level — as far as the infrastructure of energy supply, as far as the cross-border cooperation as far as the EU27. And of course, for a country like Finland, it’s obvious that we understand that we need scalability, we need economies of scope if and when we want to be a strong economy in the world.

As Europeans, we really want to implement our solutions as well, not just pledge and providing money.”— Ville Skinnari, Interior Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Government of Finland

But absolutely, as my colleague from Egypt said, we have to implement. I think everything is about the implementation, and how we understand the system-level approach. Even now in Europe you really have to understand that how you do the electrification, digitalization and what’s really meant by green transition, and how you get people on board, how you include the local people.

And then, of course, we look at the COP27, for instance, or Glasgow, that of course, we as Europeans, we really want to implement our solutions as well, not just, you know, pledging and providing money. So my message here in New York is that it’s really time to understand the system-level need of change as far as development cooperation, as far as public-private partnerships. There’s been a lot of talks during the last years. This yes, we’re doing so much with this and this. But what the LDC countries, what the least developed countries, really need, they need the solutions, as simple as that.

That’s why I believe that today and tomorrow here in New York, it’s so important that we are very solution-driven, not just talking about money and pledges, because we have to be honest as well that the ODA [Official Development Assistance] is not enough. We all know that. But then again, we have to leverage the private funding for adaptation, now it’s only 3 percent. We have to look at the mitigation — are we really holistic enough as far as the infrastructure and the digitalization? Because as a Finn, I can I can truly say that if you want to be successful in green transition, you need the digitalization as well. In other words, you have to be very strategic, very holistic, and you need the local level acceptance, the, let’s say, business to government approach that is really there with the trust. And we have a lot to do with the COP27 and hopefully, we can get things better.

Global cooperation for food security

What we’re seeing in COVID-19 and what we see as a result of the conflict, I believe that this would have happened to the food system at some point anyway, because of climate change.”— Svein Tore Holsether, CEO, Yara International

Børge Brende: Thank you so much, Minister. Mr Holsether, we are faced with the climate crisis, energy crisis, a food crisis, growing inflation and a war, all happening at the same time. And we know that crops do play an important role in this. And food prices have been soaring, have stabilized a bit, but what are the short- and medium-term strategies we need for ensuring also enhanced crop production in the years to come?

Svein Tore Holsether, President and Chief Executive Officer, Yara International ASA: Well, first, thanks for inviting me here Børge, thanks for your leadership and what the Forum is doing to convene and discuss and talk about solutions to this.

Indeed, the food system is going through a rather extreme situation at the moment after decades of being able to grow more food for a growing population. That changed a couple of years ago. And now with, as you mentioned, climate change, with COVID, that really uncovered how fragile the food system is, it is really a very global system with very complicated supply chains and much more vulnerable to disruption than what we believed it to be before we’re in the middle of it like we are right now.

And then on top of it, Russia’s war on Ukraine, which is really impacting food production in Ukraine. Ukraine is a food superpower. And now with farmland going down, ships being stuck in the harbour, that’s causing shortages and increased prices as well. And then also the role of Russia in the food system, both as a producer of fertilizer and of food, and then indirectly as a supplier of energy to Europe. Because why do we eat food in the first place? Well, it’s to get energy. When energy prices go up, food prices go up as well. So it’s really connected.

What we’ve seen with COVID-19 and what we see as a result of the conflict, I believe that this would have happened to the food system at some point anyway, because of climate change. And as we heard in the introductory film here, no one is more vulnerable to climate change than the farmers. And we see this every day and we’re working out in the fields with the farmers, how they’re impacted from weather. Look now in China with the record drought, in the south of Europe as well. Floods in Pakistan and record high temperatures that we’ve seen this growing season in North America and India. So it’s all impacting productivity, and agriculture is part of the solution as well.

31 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, so in that is a solution. So yeah, what do we do now, short term? I think short term, the only thing we can do is let’s get product moving, make safe corridors for food to get out of Ukraine and treat the fertilizers in a way so that it’s not impacted by the conflict, so that it reaches the farmers. Because if not, crop yields will go down significantly. If you don’t apply fertilizer, it could drop as much as 50 percent in the first season. So short term, we just need to get product flowing. Long term or mid-term, we need to change how we do farming — regenerative farming.

I spent the weekend together with five farmers from Brazil and the US this week and I see, you know, the impact possible if you do regenerative farming. Looking after the soil but still having the right productivity. So it’s doable, and as I heard from the others in the panel as well, technology, let’s get this done, and let’s move from pledges to really to action. We don’t need any new innovations. We don’t need any miracles in the food system. We have all the pieces. It’s about putting it in place and just doing it.

Børge Brende: I think many of the viewers probably reflect on the following. If the war continues in Ukraine and we see the global polarisation also continuing. Are you afraid that there will, short and medium term, be a food crisis in the world, see a famine? Because we do see that some of the, for example, prices of wheat has gone down again the last months. So, short answer to that?

Svein Tore Holsether: We’re in a food crisis. And I believe every mother and father that cannot feed their children now because of the increased cost of food is a crisis. So how do we lessen it?

Yes, food prices have come down from the spike at the beginning, but a lot of that was linked to financial transactions. And I was together with [unintelligible] yesterday, and she explained it quite well, you know, how much of that is financially driven. But the physical move of product and prices facing the end consumers is still very high and yes, down from the highs we saw in winter, but still significantly above where we were a year ago and two years ago.

And I’m more worried about what happens now as we get into the next growing season if we’re not able to get the right amount of fertilizer out there and the yields drop again, and how that will impact the next harvest. So I think we have to still treat this as a food crisis and work accordingly.

Børge Brende: And you have to close some of your factories, don’t you, because of the energy prices in Europe?

Svein Tore Holsether: Yeah, not only me, but the whole nitrogen fertilizer industry in Europe has been significantly reduced in the last month. We’re talking about 60 to 70 percent reduction in nitrogen fertilizer production in Europe. And that’s an important place to produce that product for the world as well. And it’s natural, whether it be the kind of prices that we’re seeing now for gas in Europe, it’s been at an oil price equivalent of $500 per barrel of oil. And how can you produce any product at that kind of cost? So yes, that’s being curtailed, and that has some real severe consequences.

Embedding environmental justice

“If we want to find solutions, give it to the people really on the frontline, the people that actually can figure out the solutions.”— Andrew Steer, CEO and President, Bezos Earth Fund

Børge Brende: Thank you. Back to you, Andrew Steer. You already commented on adaptation, but of course the basis for a more sustainable future is that we have to mitigate CO2 emissions, and we have to do a lot more, faster. But we see all the complications, the European energy crises. Now we are also seeing that some old coal-fired power plants are being restarted in this situation. But you have also been focusing at the Bezos Fund on environmental justice related to mitigation. So where do you hope things will go in the coming years?

Andrew Steer: Well, it would be very easy for us now, wouldn’t it, to say: “My goodness me, it’s all so complicated, it has become so much more difficult. And clearly, we need to drill for more fossil fuels because otherwise the economy will drive to a halt,” and so on.

Look, we need to use this current crisis as an additional spur to move quicker, so that we are no longer dependent upon, you know, the fuel of the last century. But we’re dependent, rather, on the ingenuity and technology and clean and green of this century. So so, yes, you raise the issue of environmental justice, which certainly to us at the Bezos Fund is very important, as I know it is to you, Minister Al-Mashat as well, and hopefully to all of us, I think.

And there’s two reasons why we need to focus on environmental justice. I mean, one is, as we said before, it is the poor and the disadvantaged and those that have tended to be on the margins of society that are the most affected by the problem. And so what we need to do is to provide resources to enable them to become more resilient and to adapt. But there’s another reason, and that reason is that actually, these same people are actually the source of the solution. And we tend to forget that.

The environmental movement, the climate movement, has tended to be sort of dominated by, if you like, more technocratic approaches. And understandably, I mean, no one’s been wicked about it. We’ve really tried to do our best. Plain fact of the matter, though, if we want to find solutions, give it to the people really on the frontline, the people that actually can figure out the solutions.

And by the way, this is not just an issue for developing countries. It’s absolutely right here in the United States, the environmental movement has been dominated by more traditional, more technocratic and, quite frankly, more white-led organizations.

The current administration in the United States is doing a remarkable job on something that they call Justice40. So, 40 percent of the hundreds of billions of dollars that are going to be put into green technology is to go to areas of disadvantage. Areas that have more black, brown, Indigenous and people of colour, which is a wonderful initiative. The problem is that actually even the federal government in the United States doesn’t have the capacity to know exactly how to place that. Because of the Constitution of the United States, the money flows down through the system. States have a role. Not all states are on the same side, not all cities are on the same side. So what’s the solution? Well, what we’ve done is put $300 million into the hands of organizations run by Indigenous people and people of colour. And what’s the point? The point is to build their capacity and also to build their ability to apply for that money and to pull the money in, if you like.

For example, if there’s money for energy efficiency, traditionally it’s been wealthy areas that have had the right lawyers that can put in the right application forms and so on. So we have to flip that on its head. So it’s just as relevant here in the United States as it is in countries around the world. And it’s time that we got to do something which takes us out of our comfort zone because quite frankly, sending money to organizations that maybe not all of them have the capacity to have the sophisticated management structures that some more traditional organizations do, fine — we need to help them build that. So it’s taking us out of our comfort zones and it’s forcing us to actually take the risks that we absolutely must take.

Børge Brende: I think that can be a very consequential approach. I remember when I was Secretary General of the Red Cross, I think we spent too much time on filling out applications than really doing on-the-ground humanitarian work.

But of course, empowering new communities is very important. But at the same time, we see the geopolitical situation is not that good and global challenges need global solutions. And now we see that the US and China even suspended their discussions on climate. How can that happen, and do you think that impasse will be broken in the coming weeks?

Andrew Steer: Well, we certainly hope and pray that it will be. But we shouldn’t wait for it. We should work in every way that we can to build bridges, to solve this massive problem that humanity is facing. But at the same time, we need to get on with it.

One of the exciting things — and those of you on the panel being at the very frontiers of this — one of the most exciting things is that we’ve got a generation of leaders now that are saying: “Look, this must not stand — we are going to do things differently.”

You know, the world’s most powerful fertilizer company doing things quite differently, Svein Tore. It’s terrific. We’re going to see COP27 do things differently. We’re going to say: “No, the existing structures won’t do the job.”

World Economic Forum’s a different place today than it was 10 years ago. You know, you put this right at the centre. This is the very first event that you’re putting on Zoom in this very important week. And you put these issues of justice and climate at the very centre of what you’re doing. So there’s a lot to be hopeful for, but at the same time, the battle is still not being won.

Climate issues are supposed to be embedded in the development plans of countries. This is a very, very key message so that when you are financing climate, you are financing development. ”— Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Government of Egypt

Børge Brende: Thank you. And as also Minister Skinnari alluded to, I think the private sector has to take on a more important role, of making sure that billions go to trillions when it comes to investing in climate mitigation and adaptation and justice, there is an area where we can also mobilize additional resources. And thank you for the collaboration that Egypt and the World Economic Forum is also having in the run-up to Sharm el-Sheikh. We will also do our best to mobilize also the private sector. But I think your approach is very much aligned with what Mr Steer just underlined: more bottom-up empowerment of new groups.

Rania Al-Mashat: Just a few points to make, and I think everyone on the panel is very much on agreement. So there is there’s a common denominator. And in order to move forward, we should not see climate as divorced from development. Climate issues are supposed to be embedded in the development plans of countries. This is a very, very key message so that when you are financing climate, you are financing development. All of us know that there’s a decade to 2030, to the SDGs. We know that there are shortcomings there. Nonetheless, joining forces, climate and development as one goal, this is going to push us very much into the future.

Also, when we put climate to development, the locals become part of the discussion. When we talk about agriculture, we talk about adaptation, resilience comes up and that is, as was mentioned, we don’t know what the next crisis is going to be and how it will affect food systems. That’s why we need to invest in creating resilient systems locally, across different countries and also in collaboration with one another.

The nexus of water, food and energy is extremely important today. So when we’re talking about agriculture, we have to talk about water. When we’re talking about agriculture and water, how are we supposed to bring the energy to that? So renewables become important. And that’s why Egypt as president of COP, but also as one of the biggest countries in Africa, we created a programme called the Nexus of Water, Food and Energy. It’s NWFE. It’s pronounced in Arabic: “no-wef-ee,” which means from pledges to implementation. So this nexus of water, food and energy, we’ve been able to mobilize our partners, partners not just for finance, but also for technical advisory. And this is a very, very important point that as you are pushing the local communities, you also need to raise the capacity building.

To be able to access finance, the excuse is always that they are not ready. How are they supposed to fill in all these applications that you mentioned, and so forth? So this NWFE programme, we had a very important meeting in Cairo last week and we had we launched Egypt’s country platform for the NWFE programme, and we have mobilized the private sector, NDBs (National Development Banks), the U.S., and many of our partners as well as the private sector to be able to implement these projects. And if this is successful, this would be a replicable example for other countries in Africa and elsewhere.

So just to conclude, climate and development have to come hand in hand. We should no longer talk about climate by itself. I think this would be a way to motivate governments, private sector and local citizens to move forward.

The second point is all of us need to be together. So an all hands on deck, be it the government with its regulatory capacity, the private sector telling us exactly what they need. Philanthropy coming in into this space in a very, you know, forceful way. And that’s why as part of the COP27, we also put together the Sharm el-Sheikh guidebook for just financing. So it’s also identifying what each stakeholder needs to do in order to move from pledges to implementation.

And then finally, the word resilience and this concept of mitigation, adaptation — you shouldn’t be choosing between them. They actually should be put hand in hand. So when we say we invest more in adaptation, it’s not that we are pulling away from mitigation resources. It’s actually trying to increase the pie, because when you take a look at agriculture and water, energy becomes key.

And if you’re talking about Egypt, we are going to be exporting more gas to Europe. It means that we need to be producing more of our renewables. And that is part of this nexus of water, food and energy, part of the NWFE programme.

Børge Brende: There is a huge solar potential in Egypt.

Rania Al-Mashat: Solar and Wind.

Børge Brende: Solar and wind, yes. Mr. Skinnari, I guess you want to comment on some of the things that have been said, but as Minister said, resilience is also core of this. And I know you’ve been very engaged in also early warning systems when it comes to natural disasters. That’s, I guess, part of your adaptation strategy.

Ville Skinnari: Absolutely. And I hope we in Europe could find a similar word as you have for implementation. I really have to improve my Arabic as well, but that’s something to do as a homework.

Børge Brende: Maybe you’ll have a Finnish word for it, huh?

Ville Skinnari: Well, I’m trying to find it in Swedish or Norwegian. Maybe it’s coming up.

Børge Brende: You need a lot of [unintelligible] at least.

Ville Skinnari: At least. But to answer your question, yes, I think when we talk about, let’s say, the implementation, as you said, what we really wanted to do some five years ago as Finland, as our partner countries all over the world with the coalition of finance ministers, this climate coalition, to really get the ministers of finance involved. In order to be horizontal, in order to be holistic, but also to implement at the very national level to the very local level. And I think now having said all this, I really hope that this week we can have altogether more than 100 countries on board on this coalition, because then we can be more strategic and we can utilize that word that I cannot remember now what you just said.

Rania Al-Mashat: NWFE.

Rania Al-Mashat: Oh, perfect. But then I come to climate adaptation. Yes, we have been really working with the very least developed countries as far as the early warning system, saving lives with different technologies. But I think that’s a very good example for public-private collaboration because we have many, many instruments.

For companies, it’s quite frustrating and time-consuming to really go back and forth, what is the instruments for this and that. But we have really conceptualized early warnings with our National Meteorological Institute from Finland and with a private company called Vaisala, which is of course one of the leading technology providers. And then we scaled it within the African region as well as, let’s say, the Americas as well.

And that’s something that we can say that, yes, now the private money is leveraged. And that’s why I have identified, let’s say, three, four to five thematic solutions from the mitigation to adaptation, but even to more, let’s say, more complex challenges in societies and to really provide that solution to the local level.

And then after that, once we have the best technologies — and the most important thing — the best people over there, the best team, then we start to think where we get the money from, what kind of entities we need. And exactly what you said, that now we are too entity driven, we are too instrument driven. We are not solution-driven and then we just asking ourselves: should we coordinate more? Yes, we should. But at the end of the day, we need solutions.

I think this is a topic for this week here in New York: how we can really provide the solutions for the Africans, how we can build up trust before COP27, how we can do that at the global level as far as development cooperation. And then of course, what we have spoken a lot earlier on with you, is that how we really get, let’s say, from aid to trade type of thinking as far as trade policy.

And of course, as a trade minister, I really push now further the trade agreements within the African region, between Europe and South America, Mercosur, for instance. We need those agreements if and when we want to be more sustainable in this world. And therefore, I really believe that. And I look forward to see you in Egypt.

Leveraging trade and technology

Børge Brende: Thank you very much. This afternoon, we will even launch a new report showing the huge potential when it comes to better facilitating trade, when it comes to green technology. Today, there are so many obstacles if you want to export technology that is also going to be crucial when it comes to green investing.

But as you heard, Svein Tore, there is a lot of need for additional capital. There is a lot of green energy projects out there and there is a lot of money sitting on the sidelines. I think like a trillion U.S. dollars from the private sector that can be invested. And what does it take to get this money invested into those projects? Because if you have the projects and you have the money and nothing happens, we are not making progress.

Svein Tore Holsether: Yeah, we need to accelerate that. And I believe we are at that point now where the understanding of the issue and the need to work together is so urgent now and understood that it’s about moving to the implementation phase.

And I fully agree with what [Minister Al-Mashat] said: climate and development goes hand in hand. And in order to get that done at the scale that we need, the private sector needs to play a role, but not alone. It needs to be done in cooperation.

And I’m really pleased with the agenda for COP27. I’m also happy that there will be a food pavilion. We will be there from the private sector as well, to work together.

And in agriculture, you know, climate and development, it plays such a huge role in creating that resilience to make a more resistant agriculture to climate change. We see it when the farmers get the tools and the knowledge and focus on soil health, it’s much more resistant to climate change, you have less soil erosion. When you have floods, it keeps more of the nutrients in the ground. The crops grow better, even in drought as well.

But then we need to use technology, to work together with organizations like the Bezos Earth Fund and with Andrew here to look at, you know, how can we use technology to drive change?

Let’s do soil mapping globally because if you know the soil conditions, then first of all, you can do something about it. You can create a more healthy soil, you will get better yields.

I was in Africa two weeks ago in Kigali. And when I see the impact to farmers, when you help them to put the right nutrition in the ground, focussing on the soil health, we’re not talking small changes to yields. We’re talking 50 percent increases or doubling in the first harvest.

And maybe this could be the wake-up call needed in order to really accelerate African agriculture as well. The continent imports food for $50 billion a year, money that should stay in Africa and develop African workplaces and creating food security. And we see the need to have more local food production as well now.

So if it could work together, come up with solutions but focus on now implementing — because we really know what we need to do. It’s about getting it done. And trust is also an important part of the equation here. And unfortunately, right now I feel trust is short in supply. But let’s at least get started with some things and demonstrate what is possible.

Børge Brende: So Andrew Steer, I guess this was good music in your ears, but moving into implementation. We’ve been talking about that for decades and the crisis is really here. I think the planet is really on fire, but the geopolitical, economic situation are now excuses, for not really delivering on it. What does it take of new ways of doing things to really make progress? Because as I said in the beginning, I think the price of inaction far exceeds the price of action. But that’s hard to get that internalized to some leaders.

Andrew Steer: Well, I think it needs at least two big things. First, it needs a change in mindset. Many policymakers, many CEOs, still believe the economics of the last century, which basically said “it would be nice to act, but actually it’s going to cost us. We are going to lose jobs, we will lose growth, going to lose competitiveness.”

The economics of this century have demonstrated that smart, bold action on climate change will lead to more economic efficiency, will drive new technologies, will lower risks and will reshape expectations about the future. Those four things combined actually lead to a dynamism that most economic models still don’t capture. So first we need that intellectual revolution to enter our minds so that we have a different perspective.

The second thing is exactly as you’ve all been saying, but you made the point very, very clear Svein Tore, which is we need creative collective action partnerships. There are no silver bullets. It’s a jigsaw puzzle, and it’s a jigsaw puzzle in several senses.

One is that we need different types of actors to come together. And so we now need, whether it’s philanthropy, whether it’s government, to work with the private sector, to work with NGOs and so on in a creative way that we’ve not done before.

So, for example, we’ve just, together with the Rockefeller Foundation and the IKEA Foundation, created something called the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet. And we work very closely with your team on this. And what’s the point? Well, the point is, if you could get a couple of billion dollars of grant money that you can deploy very quickly, you can then sort of operate at three levels, first on the politics and policies and plan.

Second, pipeline development and third, de-risking. And in each of those, we need relationships with governments, with civil society, with corporations in a sort of creative way.

And then we need to bring in the more traditional, but very good, financial institutions, the World Bank, the African banks and so on, in a way that we can actually do things a little bit differently and we can have a capital stock where actually those that can afford to take risks, those that can afford to move quickly can get in there and encourage the others.

Børge Brende: Well, thank you very much. I think this has been a very good start of our meeting, that is going on the whole week and the road to Sharm El-Sheik and COP27 in Egypt. Of course, there are a lot of challenges, but I feel that this group also shared with us some silver linings.

As Andrew Steer has just said, this energy transition and the green transition can create jobs and can create a different planet in the years to come. And the application of the new technologies, but also looking at this crisis as an opportunity.

Look at 1973, at the oil crisis back then, that led to a big change in our economy. Cars were then back running with 1.8 litre per 10 kilometers. After a few years it was a litre per 10 kilometers. Today, 17 percent of the cars sold this year are electric cars. And in the years to come, there will be even more. After the oil crisis in ’73, we saw the introduction of new nuclear plants, different ways of phasing out coal in railways and in ships and etc.

So, maybe this de-globalization of energy is also something that will increase energy security, because you will have solar panels, windmills in different countries. So you also increase your energy security. So decoupling economic growth from growth in CO2 is something that we are looking at, and the World Economic Forum also are proud that we mobilize our partners in now an implementation mood in the run-up to COP27.

So thank you very much for joining us today early morning here in New York. But that’s the way to get things done. Thank you.

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