Climate Action – even without the US!

The F20 Platform is looking back to a successful event in Hamburg

The F20 Foundations Platform is an alliance of more than 45 foundations and philanthropic organizations from twelve countries that have joined forces in order to further shape the political discourse on future sustainability measures.

Ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg, representatives from participating foundations got together to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the implementation of the Paris Agreement. In a joint statement, they called upon the G20 states to confirm their commitment to the Paris Agreement.



During the event in the prestigious Hamburg Town Hall, which was mainly organised by the World Future Council, WFC-Councillor Dr. Auma Obama and Honorary Councillor Dr. Michael Otto took part in the press conference. Dr. Otto emphasised the importance of the implementation of the Paris Agreement and urged for more ambitious climate action, also in Germany: He pressed for a German withdrawal from fossile fuel and the promotion of renewable energies and carbon-neutral traffic.

During her speech at the event, Dr. Obama stressed that African people must be included when talking about climate action: They should not be doing the same mistakes as the industrialised countries, and would be able to leapfrog developments. Other speakers included Laurence Tubiana, the architect behind the Paris Agreement, the US-american physicist and environmentalist Amory B. Lovins, as well as the British economist Lord Nicholas Stern. Around 400 people attended the event; the side-events before and after the main event included an energy transition tour through Hamburg and other workshops organised by F20 foundations.

Dr. Michael Otto and Dr. Auma Obama during the F20 press conference. Photo Credits: Jochen Quast | |


At the end of the main event in Hamburg, the German minister for the environment, Barbara Hendricks, received the F20 publication. Climate action and sustainable development must become core duties of the leading industrialised and threshold countries. The Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is “short sighted and irresponsible”, as the F20 members state. We are positive that the event on the 4th of July here in Hamburg was just the start of a success story for common and transnational action towards a zero carbon economy and a successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

For more information on the F20 Platform, please visit


100% RE and SDGs

Sustainable development can only be reached by transitioning to 100% Renewable Energy (RE). In fact, 100% RE is more than just replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources in today’s energy system. It can serve as a mean for socioeconomic development and help create a just society for today’s and future generations. Hereby, it supports the implementation of each sustainable development goal. You want to know how? Let´s have a look.

To end poverty in all its forms everywhere (SDG1), reduce vulnerabilities and ensure equal opportunities to economic resources, the access to energy is a prerequisite. Access to modern energy services is regarded as a prerequisite for a life of dignity. This applies to substantive human rights such as access to clean water (SDG6), good nutrition (SDG2), health (SGD3), safe shelter (SDG11) and education (SDG4).

This is why SDG 7 urges us to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. This means nothing less than implementing 100% Renewable Energy. It embraces the necessary paradigm shift and is the fastest, cheapest and indeed only way to “leave no one behind”.

100% Renewable Energy for Sustainable Development

This paper describes the vital relationship between renewable energy (RE) and sustainable development. In particular, it demonstrates how supporting the transition to 100% RE is both a necessary condition and a driver for sustainable development that leaves no one behind.

Producing energy from natural powers such as sun and wind is possible everywhere. Their modular and decentralized nature allows for great flexibility. Even the smallest communities can have a small solar system installed or an off-grid mini-grid and gain control over their own energy supply, without the need to abide to large corporations in charge of large, centralized energy distribution. In big cities, renewables can provide basic services such as reliable electricity for vulnerable people living in slums and clean fuel to reduce air pollution (SDG11 & 3). Hereby renewable energies reduce inequalities (SDG 10), especially between urban and rural population. They allow paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations, especially women and children who suffer most from insufficient basic service in their homes (SDG5). A 100% RE approach enables all countries to depend only on the most equitably distributed energy of all: abundant and clean renewable energy, distributed within their own borders, close to their communities and accessible by everyone.

To ensure access to water and sanitation for all (SDG6), “water-friendly” technologies from a life-cycle perspective are essential. Solar PV or wind could withdraw up to 200 times less water than a coal power plant to produce the same amount of electricity. Further, renewables are the most resilient and low cost option to access, treat and pump water especially in hot, dry regions. And here, we haven’t even touched upon the impact of fossil fuel extraction and transportation on the quality of water resources, the health of aquatic ecosystems and climate change. Clean water is also essential to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition as well as promote sustainable agriculture (SDG2).

Transforming our energy system to 100% RE allows the reduction of air pollution and brings down harmful emissions that cause diseases and climate change (SDG 13). Renewables therefore enhance health and well-being for millions of people (SDG3) who need treatment and cooled medication in hospitals and rural health centres, suffer from air pollution caused by the transport sector or coal-fired plants or those women and children who cook on charcoal and suffer from indoor smoke (SDG5). With fossil fuels being a major driver of global warming, reaching 100% RE as soon as possible is a prerequisite to limit it to 1.5C degrees (SDG13).

“100 % Renewable Energy for Sustainable Development “:

a film by Christoph J Kellner / studio animanova 

Already today, renewables are the cheapest option for electricity production in many regions across the world, especially in isolated places. Thanks to falling prices for the equipment, the fact that wind and sun is for free and therefore renewables have practically zero marginal costs but also thanks to fact that renewables have no external costs, renewables are the most competitive source to produce energy. This is crucial to provide energy to all (SDG7), eradicate poverty (SDG1), achieve decent work for all (SDG8) as well as build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation (SDG9).

Renewable Energies can be installed, managed and owned by everybody. Hereby, 100% RE is also an opportunity to enhance procedural rights such as inclusive participation and access to information for of all (SDG1, 4, 5, 10). Further this means that, with the right finance mechanism, every citizen and community can not only benefit from energy services (for SDG 3,4,6 and 7) but also from becoming an energy producer and hereby drive innovative business models (SDG8&9). Implementing 100% RE can therefore unleash opportunities especially for entrepreneurs and build up new industries (SDG9). Thanks to their decentralised character, renewables create diverse and good quality job and income opportunities in every country in urban as well as in rural areas. Therefore they “leave no one behind”. In fact, renewables create more jobs per unit of energy than any other energy source (SDG 8).

SDGs & 100% Renewables Gallery

As renewables technologies produce energy from abundantly available resources used in efficient and often smart infrastructures, a 100% RE approach ensures sustainable consumption and production patterns (SDG12). Using renewable electricity also for cooking, we could decrease the ecological burden on our ecosystem caused by unsustainable use of biomass. Also expanding use of biogas from organic waste helps achieving the reduction of waste, in particular food waste.

By transitioning to 100% RE, we could mitigate ocean acidification and conserve marine ecosystems as they are heavily impacted by oil and gas exploration and nuclear energy production (SDG14). The same is true for life on land (SDG15). A major and rapid uptake of RE is the only sustainable solution to limit the increasing effects of climate change on the ecosystems and biodiversity, whose delicate equilibrium is greatly disrupted even by the smallest changes in average temperature. Further, ecosystem disturbance and degradation resulting from direct or indirect effects of extraction can be stopped by adopting a 100% RE approach. Renewables have the least life-cycle ecological impact per kWh of energy produced.

Finally, a world powered with 100% RE would be a more peaceful, secure and fair place for all (SDG16). While there are certainly diverse causes for the existence of conflicts, many of them are connected to access to fossil fuel resources and infrastructure. By transitioning to 100% RE, countries, islands cities and communities can improve their energy autonomy and break free from oil, gas, coal and uranium imports which often cause geopolitical tensions or armed conflicts. As many communities across the world show, transitioning to 100% RE can also support better institutions and governance structures through what is known as energy democracy. Renewables provide the chance for all people to engage and benefit from energy as a common good (SDG10). They hereby help to develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions and broaden and strengthen participation (SDG16).

Illustration: Christoph J Kellner / studio animanova

RE development requires strong cross-sectoral, transregional and transnational partnerships as well as a continuous exchange of solutions, best practises and lesson learnt. In fact, the effective and rapid implementation of a 100% RE target depends on a strong collaboration between local actors and other regional, national and international stakeholders and governments. Therefore, strengthening renewable energy partnerships (SDG17) goes hand in hand with improving the partnerships necessary for the implementation of the SDGs.

The wide-range of co-benefits linked to RE development reveal once again the strong interdependency among all aspects of sustainable development. In light of the vast benefits related to RE development and its instrumental role in supporting sustainable development, it becomes essential that policy makers and development organizations embrace the 100% RE message and integrate a 100% strategy into their development plans. The key policy recommendations to achieve this are:

  1. Set a 100% RE target and embed it across policy areas and in SDG processes
  2. Set a “leave no one behind” approach to energy policy
  3. Ensure adequate civil society participation and capacity building
  4. Enhance renewable energy in the cooking sector
  5. Prioritize energy efficiency
  6. Use fossil subsidies for funding
  7. Strengthen change agents and pioneers

The climate cost of 100% renewable energy

At the COP 21 in Paris, the international community agreed on an agenda to cut greenhouse gas emissions to a level that will limit the rise in average global temperatures to 1.5°C. On 5 October 2016, the threshold for entry into force of the Paris Agreement was achieved. For a likely chance to stay below a rise of 1.5C, we have to reach zero emissions by 2050.

Press Release: “G6” sets the stage for G20 summit

In Hamburg Heads of State need to deliver on the implementation of climate and sustainability goals

Global Platform of Foundations for climate and sustainability,F20”, established ahead of G20 summit

Berlin/Hamburg, 30th May, 2017: According to a newly established global platform of foundations, the F20, ‘the G7 summit in Italy has set the stage for the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg’. ‘Six of the seven Heads of State have demonstrated their determination to implement the Paris Agreement despite the reluctance of the US administration. It is now up to the most powerful economies to lead in turning the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement into reality’, they said in a joint statement.

On 7th and 8th July 2017 the most influential 20 industrialised countries and emerging economies will meet in Hamburg for the next G20 summit. On this occasion, the F20 group of more than 35 foundations and philanthropic organisations from nine countries – the first group of its kind – have joined forces to further advance action on climate change and the global energy transformation.

‘The German G20 presidency can rely on the support of businesses, think tanks, civil society, faith leaders and progressive countries when it comes to climate change. It is these groups that are driving global climate action, investing in sustainable infrastructure and helping create the jobs of the future in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas. The goals of the Paris Agreement have global support and are cemented every day as the low-carbon transition gathers pace’

said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation.

Michael Northrop from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund said:

‘The low-carbon transition offers business opportunities, jobs and economic development, and a whole range of co-benefits like cleaner air, and a healthier environment. But the flows of investment necessary to leverage these opportunities and co-benefits at scale must accelerate. Growing numbers of foundations, pension funds, cities, and insurance companies are showing the way by divesting their capital from fossil fuels and by pioneering investment in clean energy solutions.’

In 2014, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced its decision to divest its more than $800 million fund from fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy opportunities. Since 2014 more than $5 trillion of managed assets have elected to divest from coal and fossil fuels.

Ramiro Fernández, from Argentina and Climate Change Director at Fundación Avina, underlined the important role civil society needs to play within this transformation.

‘Civil society groups have always been a key driver of transformative change. The importance of civil society’s engagement in the name of preserving natural resources and in the global struggle for social justice – be it on an international, national or local level – cannot be overstated. The voices of civil society from all over the world need to be heard throughout the G20 process.’

Fundación Avina is a Latin American organisation working in Argentina where it hosts several projects on fostering democracy, environmental protection and sustainable development.

The F20 Foundations Platform will support the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda, climate action, and the deployment of renewable energies around future G20 summits. Furthermore, the Foundations Platform objective aims to highlight the strong role civil society is playing in this transformation. Among the participating foundations are the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (US), the Wallace Global Fund (US), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (India), the Tata Trusts (India), Avina Foundation (Latin America), FARN (Argentina), SEE Foundation (China), C Team (China), Instituto Arapyaú (Brasil), European Climate Foundation (Netherlands), Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit, Stiftung Mercator, Foundation 2° – German CEOs for Climate Protection, Michael Otto Foundation for Environmental Protection, WWF, German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius and the World Future Council (all Germany). In total, the foundations represent a capital in the double-digit billion range (US dollars).

On 4th July, a few days before the G20 summit, the Foundations Platform will gather leaders from civil society, business, science and politics at an event in Hamburg. The aim is to demonstrate strong support for the global climate agenda as well as to discuss how to leverage the opportunities and benefits arising from transformational processes.

Among the speakers are the economist Lord Nicholas Stern, the sociologist Auma Obama, the author and former advisor to the US government Amory B. Lovins, the Chinese entrepreneur Wang Shi and Kurt Bock, Chair of the B20 Energy, Climate & Resource Efficiency Taskforce and CEO of BASF SE.


For more Information on the F20-Platform, visit

Media contact

Katrin Riegger

Head of Communications, European Climate Foundation,

T: +49 (0) 30 847 12 11 96, M: +49 (0) 157 71 33 57 96

The World Future Council

The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of policy-making. Its up to 50 eminent members from around the globe have already successfully promoted change. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. In close cooperation with civil society actors, parliamentarians, governments, business and international organizations the World Future Council identifies “best policies” around the globe. The World Future Council is registered as a charitable foundation in Hamburg, Germany.


Press Release: Women Leaders for Peace – International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament

May 24, 2017 – Women in peace and disarmament processes elevate the prospect of their success: The recipients of the Right Livelihood Award and members of the World Future Council released a statement today – Women Leading for Peace – to commemorate the International Women’s Day for Disarmament and Peace.
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May updates from the WFC!

MAY 2017
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Dear Friends & Supporters,

If we’re talking about a global change, we must not forget that everyone should be on board to make it happen. In this month’s Newsletter, we are not only presenting the official launch of the F20 Platform - but we are also giving examples of somewhat underestimated change-makers with a surprisingly big impact: Climate vulnerable countries committing to 100% Renewable Energies, and students making sustainable shopping decisions.

Whether in politics, business or in private life: Decisions we make today will have consequences for many generations to come!
Jakob von Uexkull, Alexandra Wandel & Stefan Schurig
The Management Board
Foundations take a stand: Bridging the gap between the 20 most important industrial countries and emerging economies (G20), the private and financial sector as well as civil society, the F20 Platform's objective is to support the implementation of the Agenda 2030, climate projects, and the deployment of renewable energies. The F20 platform, consisting of more than 30 foundations from eight countries, was launched officially this month. In total, the foundations represent a capital in the double-digit billion range (US dollars).

The great outcome of COP22 in Morocco 2016 was that 48 members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) committed to implementing 100% Renewable Energy in their countries. But how can this transition be financed considering their developing country statuses? WFC Staff Dr. Matthias Kroll and Anna Leidreiter propose an efficient apporach to finance 100% RE, involving G20 members to avoid further debt burdening of vulnerable countries. THE FULL ARTICLE (

For most young people, the way they dress is an important form of self-expression, and therefore a vital part of their identity - but their impact as consumers is oftentimes overlooked. How is a young person able to make sustainable decisions as a consumer? WFC Project Manager Samia Kassid went to speak in front of an international student audience in Hamburg, to talk about child rights, child labour and sustainable shopping.
Policy Debate on Cross-Border Cooperation for Renewable Energy in Brussels
Tuesday, 6 June, 2:00 - 6:00 pm
Charity Concert in Berlin, Germany
Monday, 4 September, 7:00 pm
Recently, we published an excerpt from Dr. Auma Obama's inspiring speech on the importance of the WFC's work at this year's World Future Forum in Bregenz. Watch the video (
Developing their new Children's Act, Zanzibar gave children a parttaking in decision-making. We visited the Zanzibar Youth Council to hear their story. Watch the video ( BRAND NEW PUBLICATIONS Our new report about debt and assets helps to understand the balance of global wealth and debt by illustrating the important distinction of the individual and the macroeconomic perspective on the economy. Read more ( Financial institutions and governments are keen to stress that regulation should not unnecessarily burden the financial sector. How can the public interest be effectively protected and strengthened? Read more ( An increasing number of refugees worldwide are women and children. How can we better protect these women and girls from violence? This report highlights some exemplary practices and initiatives. Read more ( Want to make a difference in 2017? Become a WFC Supporter! We give a voice to future generations and stand up for their rights by providing policy tools to empower millions of people around the world. Become a supporter to make the world a more sustainable place. MORE INFORMATION ( Contact us World Future Council Lilienstraße 5-9 Hamburg 20095 Germany ( About this newsletter

Shopping and Sustainability: Erasmus+ project to raise awareness in young people

WFC Project Manager Samia Kassid and Tina Stridde from Cotton made in Africa talk to students about child rights, child labour and sustainable shopping

If we talk about future generations, we must talk about young people. They are the decision-makers of the future – but what is oftentimes forgotten, they are decision-makers today as well: For most children, teenagers and young adults, the way they dress is an important form of self-expression, and therefore a vital part of their identity. But due to lack of awareness – and, very possibly, lack of funding – affordable clothes are most often the first choice. So how is a young person, who is not familiar with the production chain of the textile industry, and the various forms of exploitation within this chain, able to make sustainable decisions as a consumer?

Read more

Policy Roadmap for 100% Renewable Energy and Poverty Eradication in Tanzania

HBS Report Study Cover


In November 2016 at the UN COP22 in Marrakesh/ Morocco, 48 countries committed to strive to meet 100% domestic renewable energy production as rapidly as possible while working to end energy poverty, protect water and food security, taking into consideration national circumstances. These 48 countries are among the most vulnerable countries and are united as the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF). Tanzania is one of these countries.

This report suggests concrete political measures and outlines necessary governmental action to operationalize the target. It captures reflections, experiences and concrete recommendations articulated by Tanzanian stakeholders to scale up Renewable Energy (RE) while spurring sustainable development and eradicating poverty in the East African country.

April news from the WFC!

April 2017
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Liebe Freunde und Unterstützer des WFC,
wir dürfen auf ein sehr produktives World Future Forum 2017 zurückblicken, das mit einer wegweisenden Veröffentlichung geschlossen hat -- der Bregenzer Erklärung. Sie geht die größten Herausforderungen unserer Zeit an: Unter anderem stehen der Einsatz für 100% Erneuerbare Energien, die Umleitung von Rüstungsausgaben zugunsten nachhaltiger Projekte und der Schutz von Kinderrechten auf der Agenda. Unsere Ratsmitglieder und Mitarbeiter arbeiten mit großem Engagement dafür, diese und andere Ziele umzusetzen. Denn wir sind der Überzeugung, dass die Antworten auf die Fragen und Herausforderungen unserer Zeit bereits existieren. Also warum mit Problemen leben, die man lösen kann?
Jakob von Uexkull, Alexandra Wandel & Stefan Schurig
WFC Vorstand

Oben: WFC Ratsmitglieder beim World Future Forum 2017 im Festspielhaus Bregenz.
„Wenn wir den Kurs nicht ändern, steuern wir auf nie dagewesene Gefahren und Konflikte zu, die – in absehbarer Zeit – sogar das Ende der menschlichen Zivilisation bedeuten können.“, erklärte Jakob von Uexküll auf der Pressekonferenz, die das jährliche World Future Forum eröffnete. Ähnlich drastisch formuliert der World Future Council seine Einschätzung der aktuellen Lage in seiner „Bregenzer Erklärung“. Bei dem Gipfeltreffen diskutierten die 50 Persönlichkeiten aus Politik, Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft und Kultur im Bregenzer Festspielhaus das Arbeitsprogramm für 2017/18.

Der neue „REN21 Erneuerbare Energien“-Report zu den Möglichkeiten und Herausforderungen der Umstellung auf 100% erneuerbare Energien wurde nun veröffentlicht. 114 anerkannte Energieexperten aus aller Welt stellen ihre Sicht der Dinge dar. 70 Prozent von ihnen sind der Meinung, dass eine globale Energiewende machbar und realistisch ist.
Diskussion zur grenzüberschreitenden Kooperation für erneuerbare Energien, Brüssel
Dienstag, 6 Juni, 14:00 - 18:00 Uhr

Trockengebiete bedecken über 30% der Erdoberfläche, Tendenz steigend. Sie sind von exzessiver Ausbeutung und Klimavariabilität bedroht. Durch die Ausbreitung der Wüsten ist der Lebensraum von 135 Millionen Menschen in Gefahr. In diesem Jahr sollen mit dem Future Policy Award Initiativen ausgezeichnet werden, die Desertifikation und Landverödung erfolgreich bekämpfen. Unsere Suche nach den besten Gesetzen und Initiativen hat bereits begonnen.

Wie kann man das Recht auf berufliche Bildung, Ausbildung und Beschäftigung, wie in Artikel 7 des UN-Übereinkommens für die Rechte von Menschen mit Behinderungen beschrieben, gewährleisten? Welche innovativen Verfahrensweisen und Praktiken existieren bereits? Diese und andere Fragen wurden bei einer Nebenveranstaltung der 34. ordentlichen Sitzung des UN-Menschenrechtsrates in Genf diskutiert.
WFC-Ratsmitglied sowie Initiatorin und Vorstandsvorsitzende der Sauti Kuu-Stiftung, Dr. Auma Obama erhält den Internationalen Global Compact Award für ihren engagierten Einsatz für eine nachhaltige, langfristig wirksame Entwicklungszusammen-arbeit. Sie wird den Preis im Oktober 2017 entgegennehmen.
Dr. Michael Otto, WFC-Ehrenratsmitglied, Unternehmer und Vorsitzender des Aufsichtsrats der Otto-Gruppe wurde am 4. April mit dem renommierten „Deutschen CSR-Preis für herausragendes CSR-Engagement“ (CSR-Award) ausgezeichnet.

Der World Future Council gratuliert Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish: Das WFC-Ratsmitglied, "Right Livelihood Award"-Preisträger ( und Gründer & Vorsitzeder von SEKEM ( wird in diesem Jahr 80. 1977 gründete Dr. Abouleish in Ägypten die Entwicklungsinitiative SEKEM - das erste ganzheitliche Unternehmen für die Entwicklung biodynamischer landwirtschaftlicher Methoden. Er ist zudem Gründer der Heliopolis Universität und Träger des Bundesverdienstkreuzes. Dr. Abouleish zeichnet sich durch seinen vorbildlichen Dienst in Sachen nachhaltiger Entwicklung aus.

“Nachhaltige Entwicklung gehört zu den größten Aufgaben der Menschheit und bedeutet, dass wir heute die Grundlagen schaffen müssen, die auch unseren zukünftigen Generationen ein würdevolles Leben ermöglichen.” Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish

Eine wachsende Zahl von Flüchtlingen weltweit sind Frauen und Kinder. Wie können wir diese Frauen und Mädchen besser vor Gewalt schützen? In diesem Bericht stellen wir einige beispielhafte Praktiken und Initiativen vor.
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Die Rüstungsindustrie nutzt ihre Macht, um die Militärausgaben der Regierungen hoch zu halten. Diese Studie präsentiert Ideen, wie Entscheidungsträger überzeugt werden können, dieses Budget zu nutzen, um nachhaltige Programme zu finanzieren.
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3 Milliarden Menschen weltweit nutzen traditionelle Brennstoffe. Abholzung, Bodenerosion und Verlust der Biodiversität sind die verheerende Folge. Dieser Bericht bewertet verschiedene Wege zu nachhaltigen Lösungen - und die damit verbundenen Herausforderungen.
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Wir geben zukünftigen Generationen eine Stimme und kämpfen für ihre Rechte, indem wir politische Rahmenbedingungen für Millionen von Menschen verbessern und so nachhaltiges Handeln fördern. Mit einer Spende können Sie uns dabei helfen – und sehr viel Gutes bewirken.
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Financing 100% Renewable Energy in CVF Countries with G20 central banks approved ‘Green Climate Bonds’

A comment by Dr. Matthias Kroll, Chief Economist in the Future Finance department at the World Future Council, and Anna Leidreiter, Senior Programme Manager – Climate, Energy and Cities.

With the landmark Paris Agreement adopted in December 2015, governments committed to endeavour to keep global warming below 1.5 °C and set a deadline for net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of this century. This historic agreement signals what lies ahead: the unprecedented and complete decarbonisation of the energy systems, transforming it to 100% renewable energy within the next few decades.
And it is indeed the most climate vulnerable countries that are pioneering this global transformation. In the Marrakech Vision, which was adopted at the 2016 Forum meeting at COP22, the 48 members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) paved the way to unprecedented climate action, striving to meet 100% domestic renewable energy production as rapidly as possible. To implement these actions, the developing countries advocate for an “international cooperative system” and for “attaining a significant increase in climate investment in […] public and private climate finance from wide ranging sources, including international, regional and domestic mobilization.” However, the question remains:

How can we unlock the needed money at scale and speed?

For developing nations, such as the Climate Vulnerable Forum members, that do not have yet the necessary domestic industry, implementing 100% RE means in a first phase importing the technology from industrialised countries. Hence there is a high demand for the related foreign currencies. For this, according to common trade practice, a developing country has to raise its exports to the applicable industrialised countries or running into debt to gain the needed currencies. However, this is not only time consuming but also implies a future debt burden in a nondomestic currency and the related current account problems. Therefore it is not an option for implementing the Marrakesh Vision, in particular the transformation to 100% RE.

Using private capital is only possible if there is already sufficient financial return to cover interest and reimbursement costs of the provided credits. But the bulk of the needed RE-Investments in most of the 48 developing countries have – under the current conditions – too little commercial profitability for dealing with private credits.

Thus, one way to accelerate RE-Investments would be to improve economic conditions by using grants from public money from the industrialised countries (e.g. for debt guarantees or feed-in tariffs). However, to reach the goal of the Paris agreement by matching public grants with private capital, yearly sums considerable larger than 100bn from national budgets are needed, which still seems very questionable. Especially since previous experiences with getting financial commitments from taxes or semi-public funds – such as from emissions trading – also tell us that the sums provided regularly fall short of what has been promised. Thus, the crucial question is: How can CVF members gain the necessary large scope of financial grants from industrialised countries for the rapid implementation of a domestic 100% RE infrastructure?

Establishing a new grant system by issuing standardised ‘Green Climate Bonds’ to the G20 central banks

An alternative way could be the involvement of the central banks of the G20 or other industrialized countries. Central banks can never become insolvent in their own currency due to their monopoly of issuing the legal tender – even if they purchase non-performing assets. The economic potential of central banks was witnessed during the bank bailout, leaving no apparent reason why they should not contribute to saving the climate with a fraction of the funds previously used. The proposal is therefore that central banks of G20 countries would continue doing what most of them have done to combat the effects of the financial crisis: Buying bonds to create new liquidity. So, instead of talking about “QE for the banks” we should focus on “QE for the climate”.

Creating a win-win situation

To finance the transformation to 100% Renewable Energy in the 48 CVF countries, G20’s central banks would buy standardised “Green Climate Bonds” issued by MDBs, the GCF or any other appointed financial institution engaged in climate finance, and finance concrete RE investment projects in the concerned developing countries, rather than investing in existing financial assets.

The standardised Green Climate Bonds should have a perpetual duration and would ideally only bear small, if any, interest rates. Due to their very long term, Green Climate Bonds would become permanent assets of the central banks and thus form the foundation of regular money creation. This would ensure that the CVF countries are at the receiving end of new and virtually non-repayable money, with which they can increase the profitability of many existing climate protection investments. When G20’s central banks buy new Green Climate Bonds, and record this in their balance sheets, they also gain a new monetary policy tool. The advantage of this new tool is that it leads directly to the purchase of new goods and services in their own countries. The real economy is thus stimulated without a need for the usual detour of credit creation by private banks. This means that no new debtors and creditors need to be found. The new money is created, debt-free. If CVF countries purchase new RE equipment in industrialized countries, the new money will be channel back into the system of the industrialised nation’s banks, and their reserves at the central bank would rise.[1]

From vision to action: how to realise this innovation?

To benefit from the new grant system from the G20 states, the CVF states have to develop a national roadmap which describes how to reach a domestic 100% RE production and the related infrastructure (e.g. grids and energy storage) in the quickest way. This roadmap has to indicate how many RE investments are already profitable, how many RE investments could be initiated if there is a credit guarantee from G20 states and how many RE investment is needed which requires an additional grant to gain profitability. By defining the profitability, it has to be taken into account that the price for the RE electricity is in line with the SDG goal of an affordable energy access for all. A key principle in designing these roadmaps should be ‘money only against performance’ (e.g. generating RE electricity and feed it into the grid).

The completed roadmap has to indicate the needed amount of grants and the needed currencies for importing the RE equipment from the industrialised countries (in the long term, production of RE equipment should also take place in the CVF countries). Then the involved MDBs, GCF or other appointed financial institutions issue standardised ‘Green Climate Bonds’ with perpetual maturity and sells the bonds to the related central banks which are the producer of the currency. The central banks pay for the Bonds with new money in their own currency and the MDBs or other financial institutions could finance the grants for the 100% RE transition in a perpetual way.

The amount of the new Green Climate Bonds which are purchased by the central banks has to be in line with the normal long term increase of the money supply. This ensures that the central banks could continue with operating their usual monetary policy in an independent way. To prevent any currency imbalances the central banks should among themselves accept the new standardised ‘Green Climate Bonds’ as a new kind of exchange reserves.

The benefit for the G20 states of such a new grant system is that it financed an additional demand from the CVF states (which would otherwise not happen), which leads to more domestic employment, higher revenues and increasing tax receipts. The G20 states could now transfer a huge amount of financial means to the CVF states to improve the local energy infrastructure, stimulate the domestic economy, stabilise the overall political situation and prevent global climate change without burden their national budget.

The benefit for the CVF states is that they can build up a renewable energy based economy without the needs to get foreign currency in advance by increasing their exports and without falling in debt at foreign creditors. Reliable energy supply would boost socio-economic development, provide access to those who are currently excluded and therefore can lift people out of poverty . With the new generated (domestic) renewable energy they could also substitute the import of coal, oil and natural gas. The saved foreign exchange can help financing sustainable development. Further, building the domestic renewable energy infrastructure, jobs particularly in installations and maintenance as well as regional demand for RE industry will be created.

The time is now

Therefore, CVF members are recommended to submit a proposal to the G20 which demonstrates how the G20 members could channel financial means for the 100% RE transition to the CVF states without a burden of their national budget.
If the RE investments reach the profit zone (due to credit guarantees or financial grants), it is also possible to engage private capital for co-financing. This could increase the amount of financial means in a significant scale.
This proposal is feasible also if some G20 states join. If central banks of only a few G20 countries (and other advanced economies) commit themselves to purchase the new standardised Green Climate Bonds, the grand system could start on a smaller level related to size of the participated countries.




[1] Should excess reserves result, the banks could reduce these reserves by lowering their refinancing at the central bank. The money supply would thus fall again. Banks would reduce their reserves at the central bank, which they do not need to refinance credit creation, and thereby reduce the money supply, because of the endogeneity of the money supply. The Bank of England has recently identified this as the correct description of monetary policy practice. cf. Bank of England: “Money creation in the modern Economy”, in: Quarterly Bulletin, Vol. 54, No. 1, 2014, Q1. The effect of the endogeneity of the money supply is especially important when central banks buy more Green Climate Bonds (for a short period of time as start up financing) than needed for actual money creation

Media Contacts

World Future Council
Dr. Matthias Kroll
Chief Economist – Future Finance

Anna Leidreiter
Senior Programme Manager – Climate, Energy and Cities



More about Financing the Green Climate Fund

Reaching the 1.5°C limit will have to involve upscaling and accelerating the move towards 100 percent renewable energy (RE). Therefore, investments from 1.5 to $2 trillion per year are necessary. To trigger sums of RE-investments (including private capital) on such a large scale, a large involvement of public grants (at least 300bn per year) will be necessary.

The only promising way to receive yearly public grants on that scale is the involvement of central banks (CBs) as the producer of all legal tender. CBs should purchase standardized ‘Green Climate Bonds’ to channel the so created new money to the Green Climate Fund, Multilateral Development Banks or other dedicated financial institution which are involved in climate finance. No additional debt burden of public budget is needed and CBs gain a new monetary tool to stimulate the economy in a direct way.

The proposed study demonstrates how the new money flows would be financing the global RE-transition.