How Private-Public Sector Collaboration Can Help Address Climate Change
Business and government leaders explained how the public and private sectors can work together to achieve climate adaptation and mitigation.
Air Date: January 24, 2022
Moderator: Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tarek Tawfik, President, The American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham Egypt), Suzanne P. Clark, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Omar Mohanna, Chairman, Egypt-U.S. Business Council, Jay Collins, Vice Chairman, Capital Markets, Banking, and Advisory, Citibank, Khush Choksy, Senior Vice President, International Development, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Senior Vice President, Middle East and Turkey, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Martin Durbin, Senior Vice President, Policy
Featured Guests: His Excellency Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister, Egypt, John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, The White House, His Excellency Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs and COP27 President Designate, Arab Republic of Egypt, Her Excellency Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment & COP27 Ministerial Coordinator & Envoy, Arab Republic of Egypt, His Excellency Motaz Zahran, Ambassador to the United States, Arab Republic of Egypt, The Honorable Jonathan Cohen, Ambassador to Egypt, United States of America, Her Excellency Dr. Rania Al Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Arab Republic of Egypt, His Excellency Ayman Soliman, CEO, The Sovereign Fund of Egypt, His Excellency Tarek El Molla, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Arab Republic of Egypt, John Christmann, Chairman, U.S.-Egypt Business Council, Lorenzo Simonelli, Chairman, President & CEO, Baker Hughes, Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, His Excellency Wael Aboulmagd, Ambassador to Brazil and Lead Climate Negotiator, Arab Republic of Egypt
Climate change has been an ongoing issue for decades, and its threat is only growing. We’re already seeing its effect with natural disasters occurring all around the globe, and if left unaddressed, the impact will inevitably get worse.
During Day 1 of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s conference, “Building Momentum to UNCOP27,” business and government leaders shared ways the public and private sectors can work together to achieve climate adaptation and mitigation.
Countries Must Increase Public Green Investments and Projects
During the past few decades, it’s become increasingly evident that climate change is a serious issue. In fact, according to Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister of Egypt, “Studies show that delaying action is a luxury that we can no longer afford.”
Madbouly added this is an especially important time to act considering the pandemic and other challenges future generations will face.
For the past six years, he noted, Egypt has made relentless efforts “towards implementing an ambitious pivotal shift in mainstreaming environmental sustainability in line with the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the Paris agreement.”
“This [has] translated into a huge number of projects in the fields of adaptation and mitigation to climate change in different sectors,” Madbouly continued.
As part of the 2020-2021 investment plan, he said, his county undertook 691 “green” projects, which totaled nearly $500 billion EGP.
“The plan is to increase the public green investments as a proportion of private investments to 30% in the fiscal year 2021-2022, prioritizing green projects and gradually opting out of the unsustainable projects,” Madbouly said.
Climate Experts Urge Leaders to Respond to Climate Change and Call For Private Sector Support
When it comes to the road ahead for climate change, we have a long way to go, said John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.
“We’re in trouble,” said Kerry. “I hope everybody understands that.”
He noted that, while we can certainly implement changes to get us to a better place, we aren’t currently on the right track.
“Most of the nations quickly, easily, and enthusiastically embraced the idea put forward by the IPC scientists in 2018 that ‘well-below two degrees’ doesn't cut it anymore,” Kerry explained. “You've got to try to target earnestly to keep the Earth's warming at 1.5 degrees because we're already seeing tipping points arrived at.”
Kerry explained that a recent report on the Arctic revealed it is warming four times faster than the rest of the planet, and the damage is irreversible. In fact, much of the world is already seeing impacts through floods, fires, mudslides, and extraordinary heat.
“We need to be compelled as human beings, as leaders particularly, to respond to this,” Kerry said, stressing the importance of private sector support.
“Glasgow saw the greatest increase of ambition on a global basis in history,” he continued. “We have over 65% of global GDP committed to holding on to the 1.5 degrees, but that means we have a group of countries which are not yet there — and we very much need a number of countries to make stronger plans in the course of this year.”
Companies Should Utilize Technologies Available to Reduce Methane Emissions
Lorenzo Simonelli, chairman, president, and CEO of Baker Hughes, said his company anticipates hydrocarbons will be used for decades to come.
“It's important to get to the emissions content of those hydrocarbons,” he said. “And as you all know, methane is a key aspect of emissions relative to climate change, and there's technology available today that reduces the impact of methane.”
For instance, Baker Hughes helps reduce methane by deploying its flare.IQ technology, which “significantly reduces methane slip emissions, minimizes costs from flaring operations and improves transparency for flare operations.” This technology is being used in both the U.S. and in Egypt.
“The other area is zero-bleed valves,” Simonelli added. “Many know that methane is admitted through valves, and we have new technologies that allow it to have zero-bleed positioners that really take the high-pressure gas direct from the pipeline so that you no longer actually have the emissions taking place.”