Tackling Climate Change, and other shared challenges, through global expertise Tackling Climate Change, and other shared challenges, through global expertise

Earlier this year climate experts warned a staggering $4.5 trillion in clean energy investments is needed annually if the world is to limit the risks and impact of global warming. That’s an eye-watering sum, and one that should concern us all. If the international community intends to address climate change and protect the livelihoods of billions of people threatened by record-breaking heat, drought, storms, and floods, there must be clear and defined commitment.

Yet there is growing cause for optimism. The same experts who highlight the urgent need for action also assert humanity has the tools and expertise at its disposal to overcome this challenge. Governments, businesses, and civil society are already choosing to work collaboratively and think inclusively to confront the crisis. Individuals, too, are stepping up to help create the innovative technologies needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reach net-zero.

Take the example of Bill Gates. Earlier this month, the world-leading philanthropist spoke to 400 delegates at Ideas Abu Dhabi, a forum dedicated to tackling some of the world’s most pressing issues, from improving public health to assessing the transformative power of AI. Gates said he was inspired by rising levels of green energy investment, and that targeted, thoughtful philanthropy could play a “highly impactful role” in the fight against climate change. He emphasised that investors needed to act as a community, ensuring “precious dollars” were spent in the best way possible.

“Philanthropists will take more risks than governments do and hopefully set a model that, as you succeed, you can get market dollars, private sector dollars, and government dollars to come in behind,” Gates told the forum. “For climate, some of the innovation, some of the policy, some of the open-source sciences – the only way that will get done is [through] philanthropy.”

Ideas Abu Dhabi was founded on the premise that only by listening, learning, and collaborating can the world address interconnected issues that transcend national borders. The knowledge-sharing platform, organised by Tamkeen in association with the Aspen Institute, provides a space where experts in their field can openly engage in detailed conversation aimed at forming tangible solutions to challenges that are of global importance.

Previous speakers have included Lord Cameron, the British Foreign Secretary, Gordon Brown, the former UK Prime Minister, and Matteo Renzi, the former Prime Minister of Italy. This year, billionaire investors and philanthropists Ray Dalio, Bill Gates, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, and His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair were all participants in the forum. Each provided fresh insight into how private finance can be leveraged to find sustainable, equitable solutions to climate change, inspiring businesses and governments to invest in similar ways.

“I think if we are starting to look at what the exciting new technologies are, and the economics of those technologies, they are becoming great investments,” Dalio told the forum audience. “I’m very excited to be a venture investor in entities where there’s this incredible creativity that’s emerging; to be able to come up not only new technologies that are revolutionary, but even established technologies that will have big effect.”

Already, nation-states and big business are reconsidering how and where they invest. In a powerful demonstration of global solidarity at COP28, governments and multinationals announced a combined fund of $57 billion in support of the climate crisis. Meanwhile, UAE companies and funds have committed nearly $200bn in mostly green energy investments in the 12 months leading up to the Dubai summit.

Across the Emirates, 2023 was designated as the ‘Year of Sustainability’, and Ideas Abu Dhabi will continue its work to inspire new solutions to the climate agenda. We believe we have a duty to think generations ahead, bringing a range of opinion and experience together to address a host of emerging challenges. Join us at our next event as we convene more global leaders and decision makers to take on some of the world’s most intractable issues.

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