By Amy Quirk
As I watch the sunrise over the Red Sea, I wonder. Might the light be revealing a new path for Interfaith Power & Light’s stewardship of creation?
The IPL community has been a faithful steward of precious resources on earth. Years of steadfast engagement by people of faith with local, state, and federal leaders have yielded results in the United States. And have created a voice with agency.
COP27, our second COP as an official delegation, seems to be calling IPL to use that voice in a new way. IPL’s presence at COP27 opened up space to meet, interact and develop dialogues with key corporate and financial entities.
The Wednesday, November 9, 2022, Finance Day sessions held in the U. S. Center at COP27, illuminated a new pathway for this engagement. Recordings of those sessions are here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ahmLHa8QLPM.
Those sessions revealed that the United States is fostering partnership hubs for public/private finance collaborations. These are designed to facilitate the flow of funds to projects in renewable energy, adaptation, food security, and other important climate change work.
IPL has a strong record of advocating for legislation and policies leading to the thoughtful use of government resources, but perhaps now is the time to turn more of that advocacy toward public/private partnerships. Valuable engagement with individual corporate and financial entities occurred at COP27 and will no doubt continue. In addition, we can focus more attention on partnership hubs, a practical strategy that may yield more comprehensive results.
Here are three examples of public/private partnership hubs, each of which was highlighted on Finance Day:
1. Hub: U. S. International Development Finance Corporation (“DFC”), America’s development finance institution, which partners with the private sector to finance solutions to challenges facing the developing world.
(website https://www.dfc.gov, Scott Nathan, CFO of DFC https://www.dfc.gov/who-we-are/office-chief-executive/scott-nathan).
COP27 Focus Project: Green
Hydrogen Proof of Concept Project
Focusing on Egypt.
2. Hub: Export-Import Bank of the United States (“EXIM”). EXIM, an independent Executive Branch agency, is the official export credit agency of the United States. “When private sector lenders are unable or unwilling to provide financing, EXIM fills in the gap for American businesses by equipping them with the financing tools necessary to compete for global sales.”
(website: https://www.exim.gov, Reta Jo Lewis, President and Chair of the Board https://www.exim.gov/leadership-governance/officers/reta-jo-lewis and Rodney Ferguson and Rachel Kyte, Co-Chairs EXIM’s Advisory Subcommittee on Climate – or the Council on Climate https://www.exim.gov/leadership-governance/advisory-committees/council-climate).
COP27 Focus Project: Civil Small
Modular Nuclear Reactors in Romania
3. Hub: The Clean Energy Demand Initiative (“CEDI”). The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources is leading CEDI with relevant stakeholders to facilitate private sector investment in global energy infrastructure. “CEDI brings together corporations and countries to add clean power capacity and fuel broader economic growth.”
COP27 Focus On New Partners:
Governments of Nigeria,
Philippines, Thailand, and Australia
These financing hubs are important. As Bill McKibben noted recently,
“[S]tep back from the political realm for a minute and look for the other large lever here, the other lever big enough to matter. That one’s not marked politics. It’s marked money or finance. Pressure on the big banks, and on the big asset managers, and on the insurance companies to stop financing fossil fuel expansion remains a crucial, crucial tactic in helping us make this change at the speed that we need to make.”
It’s a new day in Egypt. And a new path for IPL?