Today at COP27 Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions – alongside His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, and Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and Bloomberg Philanthropies Board Member – announced an expanded approach to help realize his longstanding mission to move the world beyond coal. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require a significant scale up of clean energy supply to enable the transition away from fossil fuels. Today’s announcement will support a two-pronged strategy from Bloomberg Philanthropies to help the world reduce political, technical, and financial barriers to the energy transition by:
- Advancing policy and expanding capacity: Working with national and local governments across the Global South to develop energy transition plans, implement the necessary public policies, and provide the skills and training to accelerate clean energy development and phase out fossil fuel use.
- Mobilizing capital for clean energy development: Partnering with the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) to help mobilize the flow of private capital to clean energy transition projects in emerging markets and developing countries.
“We’ve seen that it’s possible to expand access to clean, affordable energy and cut carbon emissions at the same time,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We’ve helped to close more than two-thirds of coal plants in the U.S. and put more than half of Europe’s on track for retirement – and we need to make progress like that all around the world. Doing it – and overcoming the hurdles that stand in the way of investment – requires partnership across government, business, and philanthropy. It also requires technical assistance and economic and policy analysis – the side of energy development that doesn’t get a lot of attention but can mean the difference between investment in coal and clean power. That’s what we’ve been providing to a variety of countries around the world, and the expansion of our work in Africa, Asia, and Latin America will help more countries develop more clean power, faster.”
“In Ghana, we are committed to diversifying our energy portfolio and increasing our renewable energy generation. This commitment by Bloomberg Philanthropies will be critical to expanding our renewable energy efforts and ensuring that we can meet our clean energy goals,” said His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana.
“Sustainable Energy for All has already partnered with the Government of Nigeria to develop an Energy Transition Plan that helped spur President Buhari at COP26 to announce the country’s commitment to net-zero by 2060. I’m excited that through this partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, we will build on this expertise to expand support to other developing countries as well,” said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy. “In addition, SEforALL’s work along with other partners to scale a robust African carbon market will provide a further boost to unlock much-needed climate finance that will be transformative for the region.”
“To achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century, we need to mobilize significant private capital to clean energy and the responsible accelerated retirement of coal,” said Mark Carney, Co-chair of GFANZ and UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance. “This partnership – which combines the catalytic potential of philanthropy with the financial expertise and reach of GFANZ – can help unlock finance at the scale needed to support the energy transitions of emerging markets and developing economies.”
Roughly 770 million people – primarily across Africa and Asia – lack access to electricity. As countries across the Global South develop and energy demand grows, ensuring that power needs are met by clean energy rather than fossil fuels will be crucial to meeting international climate goals. In most countries in Africa and Asia, coal – the most polluting form of fuel on Earth – is the dominant source of electricity generation, leading to poor outcomes for air quality, health, and climate and undermining the competitiveness of these economies. Anchored in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ ongoing clean energy programs in 32 countries and the EU, this expansion helps deliver on United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ call to secure clean energy access for all by 2030.
“Bloomberg Philanthropies is thrilled to work alongside our partners to bring the policy, technical, and financial resources to bear for a rapid, just transition away from fossil fuels across the Global South,” said Antha Williams, who leads the global climate and environment program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “This transition isn’t just necessary and urgent to stay in line with 1.5 degrees Celsius, but it also holds great potential to expand economic opportunity and lead to longer, healthier lives for over two billion people.”
Working with national and local governments to advance planning, shape policy, and expand capacity
Data-driven planning and strong public policy are crucial to unlocking the potential for clean energy in the Global South. Across 25 countries, Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with Sustainable Energy for All and other partners to support countries in developing energy transition plans that will use robust data and analysis to chart out a credible pathway towards achieving universal energy access by 2030 for a just and equitable net-zero future. This work will focus on helping seed the governance, data, and local infrastructure needed to pave the way toward a clean energy future by:
- Partnering with national and local governments: Work with national and local governments to increase ambition, develop and leverage research, and facilitate community engagement to help overcome policy barriers for both early retirement of coal-fired plants in key countries, and to accelerate the implementation of just and equitable clean energy transition plans.
- Bolstering local climate action and the clean energy workforce: Work with local organizations, small businesses, and universities to increase skills training and technical development opportunities.
- Tracking progress: Provide decision-makers with access to data on the clean energy transition to track progress and plan for future growth.
“Coal is the single largest source of global carbon emissions, and power generation from coal has rebounded to historically high levels, far off the path to net zero consistent with limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees,” said Mary Schapiro, Vice Chair of GFANZ. “GFANZ is committed to the economy-wide transition to net zero, underpinned by sectoral pathways and policies. The GFANZ regional networks in Africa, Asia, and soon-to-be Latin America will help ensure private finance can play its part in rapidly scaling transition finance in EMDEs and supporting the managed phaseout of high-emitting assets including coal. Together with Bloomberg Philanthropies, GFANZ is working to support financial institutions striving to mobilize finance for clean energy projects and project preparation facilities.”
Partnering with GFANZ to mobilize capital for clean energy development
As part of this expanded approach, Bloomberg Philanthropies is also partnering with GFANZ to support capital mobilization to the energy transitions of emerging markets and developing countries (EM&DCs). By 2030, EM&DCs alone will need an additional $1 trillion in annual clean energy investment to keep the planet on a net zero pathway. Finance on this scale is now a possibility; over 550 financial institutions from 50 countries have committed to net zero through one of the net-zero alliances comprising GFANZ. However, private finance still does not flow to EM&DCs at scale due in large part to a lack of investable energy transition projects. In partnership with GFANZ, Bloomberg Philanthropies will also work with financial institutions to:
- Strengthen investment opportunities through project preparation: GFANZ, through its Africa, Asia-Pacific, and soon-to-be-launched Latin America Networks, will strengthen Project Preparation Facilities (PPFs) focused on the energy transition. This initiative will address existing barriers to coal phaseout and clean energy development by involving private financial institutions earlier in the project preparation process and providing technical and financial assistance to help projects meet the risk-return profiles of private finance.
- Raise standards for carbon credits and leverage them in support of coal phaseout:
Bloomberg Philanthropies and GFANZ will work with stakeholders across the carbon credit ecosystem – from project developers to credit buyers to registries and governance bodies – to ensure there is adequate infrastructure to raise standards across voluntary carbon markets and scale activity to support EMDCs’ energy transitions. Bloomberg Philanthropies and GFANZ will also support the development of high-quality carbon credits for avoided emissions from early retirement of coal power plants. These credits can provide an important alternative revenue stream to make coal phaseout more financially viable.
“Recognising that Developed Countries should take the lead, the Global South also plays a critical role in the transition to net zero and sustainable development,” said Mahmoud Mohieldin, Chair of the GFANZ Africa Network and High-level Climate Action Champion of Egypt. “We cannot continue business as usual as developing countries and in particular Africa face the brunt of climate change’s growing and rapidly accelerating impacts. Africa, in particular, has contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions, yet faces some of the greatest exposure to these risks. Providing clean energy alternatives is an important driver of much-needed progress across the continent.”
“Asia accounts for more than half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and will be decisive in the global transition to net-zero. The GFANZ APAC Network is working to catalyse green and transition finance to support economies and communities to progressively transition from coal to clean energy,” said Ravi Menon, Chair of the GFANZ APAC Network’s Advisory Board and Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. “This partnership has the potential to accelerate that work to enable financial institutions in Asia to chart credible transition plans and facilitate the managed phaseout of coal power generation assets in the region. The ultimate aim is to help to deliver affordable, accessible, clean energy across Asia.”
“As populations in the Global South grow, so does their demand for energy,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). “Greater investments in clean, renewable energy resources can ensure reliable and affordable power while advancing economic progress and supporting global climate targets. IRENA thanks Bloomberg Philanthropies for recognizing this need and for your decisive action.”
“Youth are critical in achieving and redefining the Sustainable Development Goals. Youth energy activists around the world are providing innovation, urgency, and solutions for an energy transition that must happen now,” said Akil Callender, Youth Specialist at Sustainable Energy for All. “With the expansion of clean energy in the Global South, we must utilize this moment to close the energy access gap and provide climate resilience in the areas most affected by climate change: our homelands.”
“Africa has the potential to be a global clean energy leader if given the proper financial support and resources,” saidSaliem Fakir, Executive Director of the African Climate Foundation. “Thanks to Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies for recognizing the need for genuine economic partnerships in the continent to support its clean energy future. This commitment will not only help Africa build more resilient and diverse economies, but also demonstrate to other funders and financial institutions that investing in Africa is prudent and profitable. Africa, with the right support, can shift away from the dependency on fossil fuels and link a clean energy transition to new forms of modernization and industrial pathways.”
Across both strategy pillars, Bloomberg Philanthropies will make sure to engage local leaders to ensure that its work delivers real impact to affected communities.
Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, will partner with Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt and COP27 and GFANZ Africa Network Advisory Board Chair, to engage African heads of state and local leaders throughout this process. In parallel, Ravi Menon, Chair of the GFANZ Asia Pacific Network Advisory Board, will work closely with Dr. Mohieldin to promote knowledge sharing between emerging markets and developing countries in Africa and Asia.
Led by Michael R. Bloomberg, a global climate champion and Special Envoy to the UN Secretary-General on Climate Ambition and Solutions, Bloomberg Philanthropies is tackling the climate crisis from every angle. Bloomberg Philanthropies brings together mayors and other government and business leaders, grassroots partners, and environmental advocates to accelerate the transition from coal to clean energy, improve air quality and public health, advance city and local climate action, protect and preserve ocean ecosystems, and help unlock billions of dollars in sustainable finance. To date, Mike Bloomberg has invested over $1.5 billion on climate and environmental issues.