>@Matteo Maggiore/EIB
EIB President Werner Hoyer listening to Pope Francis calling for a big increase in action to prevent global warming. ©Matteo Maggiore/EIB

Werner Hoyer, the President of the European Investment Bank, joined Pope Francis, finance ministers and climate experts from around the globe in calling Monday for more action to fight global warming.

Speaking at a conference at the Vatican in Rome on climate and sustainable development, Pope Francis declared: “We need to act decisively to put an end to all emissions of greenhouse gases by mid-century at the very latest, and to do even more than that.”

Echoing this call, President Hoyer reminded the audience at the Vatican that the Bank, the financial arm of the European Union, has long been committed to financing large amounts of low-carbon and energy-efficiency projects around the world and to increasing investments in climate action.

“We want to be ambitious. At the moment the pace of transition is nowhere near what is required”, President Hoyer said. “The EIB is accelerating progress toward full alignment with the Paris targets and commitments. We want to move decisively in the direction of phasing out all fossil energy. But as the Holy Father said, whilst financial institutions can make proposals, phasing out fossil energy will require strong political will.”

The meeting was organised by the Minister of Finance of Chile, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Rome, and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network in the context of the recent launch of the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action. The event will help prepare for the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties in December in Santiago, Chile.

Monday’s meeting enabled finance ministers and climate experts to discuss new data and enhance awareness on climate change and sustainable development, while developing concrete actions to be adopted during COP25. The meeting was called “Discussion on Sustainable Developments Goals: Climate Change and New Evidence from Science, Engineering, and Policy.”

President Hoyer stressed the need to bring in more private investment to help climate action. “There isn’t enough taxpayers’ money in the world to achieve either the sustainable development goals or the targets of the Paris agreement,” he said. “We will not succeed unless we mobilize the private sector.”

The EIB, the EU Bank, launched the first green bond in July 2007, helping create a market worth more than $500 billion today. It has chaired and coordinated several important working groups to help harmonise and strengthen the green bond regulatory framework. In 2018 it launched its first Sustainable Awareness Bond in the water sector and has plans to issue other thematic bonds to mobilise private capital in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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