The Summit will bring together delegations from Africa, Asia, India, Latin America, Australia, the United States and Europe for an interactive two-day programme that showcases how the Divest Invest movement can and is accelerating the clean energy transition by mobilizing capital out of fossil fuels and into climate solutions.
Delegations will begin to develop plans for accelerating the growth of the Divest Invest movement in their respective areas and will share these plans as part of a galvanizing series of announcements that will bring the summit to an inspiring, action-oriented conclusion. The challenges ahead are significant but surmountable. Every Divest Invest commitment is a signal to governments that a mobilized constituency has their backs as they work to implement policies to stop runaway climate breakdown.
Climate change is the most urgent challenge humanity has ever faced. It is driving increasing economic inequality within and between developed and developing countries. The combustion of fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas — is the most significant driver of climate change. For humanity to thrive and survive, we must begin the process of weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels now.
The problem is especially acute in the Global South, where the fossil fuel industry is vying to be the engine of economic growth at precisely the time the science insists it must wind down. If the developing world does not leapfrog the dirty energies of the past in favor of clean renewable energy, we cannot stop climate change.
The Divestment Movement Responds
The fossil fuel industry’s continued growth is only possible if someone pays for it. Today, investors around the world are saying “our money won’t fund climate change.”
To date, over 1,000 institutional investors marshalling over $8.5 trillion in assets — including cities, universities, sovereign wealth funds, faith groups, insurance companies, foundations and banks — have committed to divest from fossil fuels. The Divest Invest movement represents a powerful response to the urgent needs to scale investment in climate solutions, particularly for energy-poor communities, and to make it difficult for the fossil fuel industry to access capital or to maintain support for further expansion.
The Urgent Need for Clean and Universal Energy Access
One billion people live without modern forms of energy. Without reliable electricity, children cannot study after dark, vaccines cannot be stored, jobs are not created, and youth are not employed. Access to safe, clean, dependable and affordable energy breaks the devastating cycle of poverty, with enormous benefits for education, health, development, and human rights.
Wind, solar and small-scale hydro power are enabling Global South nations to move beyond the “resource curse,” which generated a legacy of extreme inequality, political corruption, environmental devastation, and the marginalization of people of color and women.
The move towards renewable energy economies is creating more and better jobs, and aiding economic decentralisation. Distributed renewable energy development is starting to show its ability to create a just and restorative economy, with larger-scale renewables dispelling the myth that large coal or oil-powered generating stations are needed to power industry and economic growth.
The carbon impact of the Financing the Future Summit has been offset through Credible Carbon, a South African carbon registry that enables businesses and individuals to reduce their contribution to climate change while at the same time alleviating poverty.
Reducing the carbon footprint of our actions is important, but cutting off the financial flows to destructive, outdated fossil fuels, and building real climate solutions with sustainable financing, with the input of diverse stakeholders from every region is key to building a low-impact world.