🎧 Impact Briefing. The numbers tell the story: overall attendance at COP28 is up threefold from last year – and the number of fossil fuel lobbyists is up fourfold. On this week’s podcast, Amy Cortese explores the tale of two COPs in conversations with Marilyn Waite of the Climate Finance Fund and Dawn Lippert of Elemental Excelerator, who share their experiences this week in the green and blue zones. Host Monique Aiken has the headlines.
The Week’s Agent of Impact
Tzeporah Berman, Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty: Winding down production to fulfill the Paris Agreement. The fate of fossil fuels presents a moment of reckoning for COP28 as national delegations debate the wording of a final agreement. “Phase out” in a non-starter, even as a growing number of countries and experts say that’s the only way to keep warming near 1.5 degrees Celsius? Even the weaker “phase down” is expected to be scuttled by Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing states, which prefer to talk about tripling global renewable energy by the end of the decade. Global COP agreements require consensus and are non binding, resulting in “rules that meet the lowest common denominator,” says Tzeporah Berman with the nonprofit Stand.Earth. Berman’s alternative: a Fossil Fuel Nonproliferation Treaty that would bind signatories to end new fossil fuel production, similar to how nuclear treaties have worked. At COP28, Colombia, Latin America’s fourth largest oil producer, became the latest nation to sign on, alongside 10 island nations, the European Parliament, the World Health Organization and dozens of cities (for background, see “New Climate Leaders: Winning with a green agenda”).
The Week’s Dealflow
Deal spotlight: Blended finance stars as COP28 seeks to unlock climate capital. Within the United Arab Emirates’ $30 billion commitment to Altérra climate fund is a $5 billion carveout that could represent an unprecedented infusion of catalytic capital. The Altérra Transformation Fund will provide risk-mitigation capital to incentivize private climate investment in least-developed countries and small island states. The other $25 billion is earmarked for the Alterra Acceleration Fund, which has already committed $6.5 billion to climate funds managed by BlackRock, Brookfield Asset Management and TPG. With the two funds together, the UAE aims to mobilize $250 billion in institutional capital for the transition to a net-zero economy. Blended finance – the layering of different sources of capital with different risk, return and impact expectations – is crucial for building markets and unlocking money for places and sectors it otherwise wouldn’t go. “In the absence of sufficient flows from North to South, getting leverage out of the pockets of blended finance is really vital,” the IFC’s Jamie Fergusson told Reuters.
The Week’s Talent
Citing poor returns, activist investor (and one-time Agent of Impact) Jeffrey Ubben is winding down Inclusive Capital Partners, the sustainable investment firm he founded three years ago… President Gustavo Petro of Colombia, Latin America’s fourth-largest oil power, signed on to the Fossil Fuel Nonproliferation Treaty (see Agent of Impact, above)… Latino Community Foundation appointed Julian Castro, a former Obama administration cabinet member, to CEO.