Climate change is one of the most defining issues of our time. Leaders and citizens are increasingly calling for effective cooperative action. This conference brings together scientists, business executives, investors, entrepreneurs, and activists from the U.S., Europe, and Asia to discuss the many facets and complexities of climate investing.
Dates, Location, and Registration
The conference is Tuesday and Wednesday, September 29-30, 2015. The venue is McKenna Hall on the University of Notre Dame campus, Notre Dame, Indiana. Please register by clicking here.
Opportunities and Challenges
In all likelihood the next three to four decades will offer unparalleled opportunities for innovation on a global scale. Radically new technologies, business models, and business processes will emerge that not only redefine energy, but also commerce as a whole for the second half of the twenty-first century. Literally tens of trillions of dollars will be invested over this timeframe.
More importantly, this transition offers the possibility of redefining the very foundations of society. Is a pattern of consumer-driven, resource-intensive economic growth on a planet growing to 10 billion people really sustainable? Or is there a possibility for human civilization to recalibrate itself to conform to a set of values that includes the welfare of all its inhabitants?
The challenges are daunting. The latest reports from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicate that it is still possible to keep an increase in global warming under 2°C, but this will take an unprecedented level of swift, global, cooperative action. The International Energy Agency reports that the world’s current trajectory of energy use puts us on a course for a 3.6°C increase. To have even a 50-50 chance of staying under the 2°C ceiling will require an estimated investment of $53 trillion dollars from now through 2035. This will demand a far different allocation of capital than is in place today, and it will necessitate the development of a new generation of investment vehicles. In the most detailed study to date, the journal Nature recently announced that in order to achieve the 2°C target, 80% of the world’s coal, 50% of its gas, and 30% of its oil will need to remain in the ground forever. Such potentially stranded assets require a redefinition of risk as we accelerate the move to renewable fuels.
Global issues require global solutions. The earth’s atmosphere is the largest commons on planet. Hence, any sustainable policy initiatives for climate change must be workable, to one degree or another, for everyone. This means beginning with the welfare of the totality in mind, rather the traditional approach of holding a point of view that represents the interests of a nation-state, a corporation, or an NGO, and then trying to negotiate a resolution. If an inclusive orientation is taken from the outset, it unleashes a more creative logic path and a more innovative set of proposals. This approach would also include the deployment of non-monetary forms of capital—social, political, knowledge, cultural, and moral capital.
As a part of the conference, there will be a special session where students will express their views regarding climate change and their aspirations for a sustainable future.