As the world seeks to move from consensus to action on climate change, one burning question remains: Can natural resource investments be sustainable in the age of climate change?
Landmark agreements concluded in 2015 clearly lay out global consensus on the need to curb human-induced climate change and to achieve sustainable development, and these ambitious agreements have important implications for the world’s approach to natural resource investments. Yet no coherent vision has emerged to guide how global actors can shift the course of natural resource investments in a way that leads to deep decarbonization, addresses the development needs of resource-dependent low-income countries, and promotes a global governance structure that supports rather than inhibits national-level actions on climate change and development.
On Nov. 2-3, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, in partnership with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, will host a conference on “Climate Change and Sustainable Investment in Natural Resources,” bringing together diverse stakeholders to explore the key challenges of and necessary steps to developing and implementing such a vision. Difficult issues will be confronted. For example, to what extent should poorer countries be allowed or encouraged to use their fossil-fuel resources while richer countries cut back sharply on fossil-fuel use? What safeguards are necessary to ensure that climate change mitigation efforts support equitable development? Do international legal frameworks for investment need to be overhauled to ensure that countries are not constrained in their efforts to address climate change?
This blog series will help to frame some of the questions and issues that will be raised at the conference. For more information about the conference and to register (for free), visit the conference website.