Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
It’s a great honor be here with you to discuss climate action. I believe it is the great development accelerator for the years ahead.
There are three reasons for this:
The first is that clean energy is now way cheaper, faster to deploy, and more reliable. Renewables are – for many countries – the only road to energy independence, and in most cases already today, the most efficient option.
The second reason is that decarbonisation creates good jobs. In a development context, decarbonisation is not de-industrialisation, rather the opposite.
The third reason is that ambitious climate action offers vast investment opportunities: what we see at the European Investment Bank are not just “needs” and “gaps” but also highly compelling “investment cases”.
I see extraordinary potential across the globe with an abundant availability of renewable energy and natural resources. In most countries this is complemented by a young and vibrant population. These are the conditions for communities to accelerate their path towards the green transition.
Let’s help make this happen.
But let me be clear: when I say “investment cases”, it cannot be a one way street. Climate action cannot become colonialism 2.0. As Europeans, we cannot just leverage on the South’s resources to produce green hydrogen – or mining for the critical raw materials that we need for batteries and electrification.
We need eye-level cooperation to find investment opportunities together – and we need to be honest about this from the start.
At the European Investment Bank, we have stopped financing unabated fossil fuels. Instead, we are investing in innovative projects together with countries in the global south that allow them to leapfrog polluting technologies and adapt to the consequences of climate change with appropriate, sustainable infrastructure and nature-based solutions.
I am optimistic about mobilising green finance. There is no shortage of financial capital in the world to address investment needs for the transition to net zero.
There is no shortage of technological ideas that can be scaled up to become economically viable, even in hard-to-abate sectors like steel, concrete and maritime shipping.
The key is to channel that capital to breakthrough projects, particularly in emerging and developing economies.
I am very hopeful we can reach net zero by embracing technology, and bring our societies together along the way, because we cannot ask people to choose between the environment and development.
But hope needs to be fed by evidence that things are changing and that we are moving in the right direction.
I believe it’s the duty of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to lead the way.