Davos, Switzerland

24 January 2014

Secretary-General's introductory remarks at World Economic Forum Session on Catalyzing Green Investment [as prepared for delivery]

We know climate change poses significant risks to people, economies and businesses.

We also know that limiting global temperature rise and advancing sustainable development will require considerable investment.

For those who are prepared to lead, the opportunities are boundless.

Clean energy; sustainable production and consumption and environmentally sound transport and urban planning are good for the planet, good for people and good for business. 

They can create new jobs, new markets and boost economies.  

In September I will host a Summit on Climate Change for global leaders from Government, business, finance, knowledge institutions and civil society.

It will be a different kind of Summit.  An action summit.

I am looking for new commitments and substantial, scalable and replicable contributions to a low-carbon economy.

The Summit is your opportunity to show what you can and will do, and to work with governments at the highest level to address climate change.

An ambitious 2015 climate agreement needs strong financial foundations.

We need to create bankable projects at scale and financial mechanisms to support climate actions at country level.

We must focus on high-impact opportunities for unlocking clean investments.

We must close the viability gap between green and carbon-intensive projects.

And we must reduce or eliminate the policy risks currently associated with low-carbon investments.

I see three areas for action – public finance, private finance and the Green Climate Fund.

First, public finance.

We need large injections of public capital for the rapid development of low-carbon infrastructure. 

Climate finance is an investment in the future.

It must not be taken hostage by short-term budget constraints.

Channelling public finance at scale is also crucial to encouraging private finance.

Smart public financing can encourage local and international private investments.

This is my second point:

Private investment is essential to meeting the growing demand for energy in the developing world.

I have been meeting with key representatives of all asset classes to discuss how they can contribute.

We need in particular to win over institutional investors that collectively manage more than 70 trillion Euros of assets.

The bulk of these investments are high-carbon assets.

These investors have the power – and I believe the responsibility -- to help transform the global economy.

My third point concerns the Green Climate Fund.

The Fund cannot be the exclusive conduit for climate finance. 

But it will be an important part of a public-private framework that supports low-carbon investment and fair access to climate financing in developing countries.

We need to bring it into operation as soon as possible.

We need more public finance, more private finance and better mechanisms for channelling investments to where they are most needed.

I urge public and private actors to rise to the challenge in the coming months and rally around a key number of concrete action-oriented solutions for the Climate Summit.

This could include, but I hope won’t be limited to, a range of public and private institutions working closely with those governments that have developed plans and are most investment ready.  Perhaps a handful of governments and public and private partners could even be ready to show what this partnership could look like by the time of the Summit in September. 

You are here because you see the big picture.

We have a real opportunity to transform our societies – to promote economic dynamism, social equity, and environmental sustainability.

I count on you to lead by example within your governments, industries and networks and to bring bold announcements as well as the highest level of ambition to the Summit.

Together we can reshape our world in ways that will provide opportunity and hope to all 7 billion people who share this planet.

Thank you.