COP27: climate change is “a race of our lives”

In the ongoing COP27 conference, MAS managing director Ravi Menon delivered a keynote speech where he highlighted how Singapore can unlock the financial capital that could address the threat climate change poses.

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Finance was the focus on the 4th day of the UN climate summit, with trillions of dollars of investment to be committed to counter the result of today’s warming planet.

“Climate change is no longer a prediction, it is becoming a reality,” Menon said, adding that “we need to act now to start reducing emissions. The world is currently far from a net-zero emissions trajectory.

“Global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, not falling. If we do not act now to start decarbonising, we risk breaching tipping points that will lead to catastrophic and irreversible climate change, with unimaginable risks to lives and livelihoods,” he shared.

Additionally, Menon discussed the gulf between finance needed for the world to get to net zero carbon emissions, and what’s currently available for investment.

According to him, Singapore could help with three clear strategies. First is blended finance which involves mobilising capital to combine with government funds for climate investment projects, facilitating and developing carbon markets, and high-quality data to support credible disclosure and progress tracking.

“Blended finance is not new but scaling it requires a fresh approach,” he said as he gave examples of initiatives that Singapore is involved with that can help with the transition to net zero. This includes partnering with the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), as well as The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero Asia-Pacific Network.

Menon said that Singapore is well-positioned to be a global leader in an emerging space for carbon services and as a trading hub.

“We are located at the heart of Southeast Asia which is fertile ground to harness the potential of nature-based solutions for carbon sequestration,” he said, adding that Singapore has sound infrastructure, a premium on trust, and good governance which are all critical ingredients for a marketplace.

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