Jim Yong Kim on climate change at Davos: "Now is the time to act for future generations before it’s too late"

27 January 2014

DAVOS: During the World Economic Forum in Davos, this weekend President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim published a blog spotlighting 2014 as the year for climate action.

In the article, Jim Yong Kim underlines the urgency needed from those in power to secure a safe future for all. He writes: "This is the year to take action on climate change. There are no more excuses. If we fail, our children and grandchildren will ask us why we didn’t act when it was still possible to do so. We need leaders who are not thinking about short-term returns or election cycles. We need leaders who are thinking foremost about taking care of the most vulnerable in this generation and the generations ahead."

Keeping his call for action positive, he points to progress that has been made so far across the world, as well as opportunities that should be taken going forward: "The good news is that there is action we all can take to turn economies around so they’re investing in what is clean and healthy and there are innovations that will bring future growth, jobs, and competitiveness. Through policy reforms, we can divest and tax that which we don’t want, the carbon that threatens development gains over the last 20 years."

Listing solutions including a price on carbon, low carbon performance standards for products and systems, and efficiency improvements to encourage investment away from high-carbon growth and towards innovation and cleaner, greener growth, Jim Kim also calls for the US$1.9 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies to be redirected to support clean growth. 

He also addresses climate risk: "Financial regulators need to lead, as well. Sooner rather than later, they must address the systemic risk associated with carbon-intensive activities in their economies, made clear, of course, by price signals. Start now by enforcing disclosure of climate risk and requiring companies and financial institutions to access their exposure to climate-related impacts."

Warning corporate leaders not to waste time by waiting for markets signals to be just 'right' and for national policies to be in place, he says: "Be the first mover. Use smart due diligence. Rethink what fiduciary responsibility means in this changing world. It’s simple self-interest. Every company, investor, and bank that screens new and existing investments for climate risk is simply being pragmatic. So, as a first step, we should aim to double the green bond market and reach $20 billion by the September summit, and at least $50 billion by the time of the Paris meeting."

Jim Kim concludes the blog post by calling for the world's most powerful who were gathered in Davos last week, to act boldly and urgently: "The leaders here in Davos, both from the private sector and from government, have it in their power to act in substantial ways. Now is the time to act for future generations before it’s too late."

At this year's World Economic Forum there was a greater focus than ever before on climate change and clean energy, with a dedicated Climate Day on Friday January 24. 

Read the full blog post here.

Related news:

Jim Kim, Todd Stern, Tony Blair, Richard Branson and industry leaders open Climate Week NYC, call for urgent action

World Bank President Jim Kim names China as vital partner in combating climate change

World’s biggest energy lender reloads support for renewables in Europe

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