Bloomberg Green Summit – Day 2
November 10, 2022
We convened an exclusive group of leaders and influencers who are making their mark in the fight against climate change. From utilizing new technology and innovations to mobilizing citizen and corporate engagement, we’ll hear how these trailblazers are inspiring action to usher in a new era of climate activism.
Click here to view the special lunch session.
- H.E. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure & Energy, African Union Commission
- Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, Mayor, Freetown, Sierra Leone
- Ezgi Barcenas, Chief Sustainability Officer, Anheuser-Busch InBev
- Jillene Connors Belopolsky, Chief of Staff & External Affairs, Clean Cooking Alliance
- Kate Brandt, Chief Sustainability Officer, Google
- Susan Chomba, Director, Vital Landscapes, World Resources Institute
- Laura Clarke OBE, CEO, ClientEarth
- Paloma Costa, UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisor on Climate Change
- Akim Daouda, CEO, Sovereign Wealth Fund of the Gabonese Republic
- Svein Tore Holsether, President & CEO, Yara International
- Michael Lotfy, Senior Vice President, Products, Schneider Electric
- Nathan Metenier, UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisor on Climate Change
- Eleni Myrivili, Global Chief Heat Officer, UN-Habitat
- Sophie Odupoy, Group Head of Public Affairs, KOKO Networks
- Grant F. Reid, Chair, SMI Agribusiness Taskforce, Outgoing CEO, Mars
- Gunther Rothermel, Senior Vice President, Head of Sustainability Engineering, SAP
- Archana Soreng, UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisor on Climate Change
- Ali Zaidi, National Climate Advisor, The White House
- Abby Danzig, Senior Programming Director, Bloomberg Green & Sustainability Events
- John Fraher, Senior Executive Editor, Bloomberg
- Yinka Ibukun, West African Bureau Chief, Bloomberg
- David Malingha, East Africa Bureau Chief, Bloomberg
- John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg
- Laura Millan, EMEA Climate Reporter, Bloomberg Green
- Akshat Rathi, Senior Reporter, Bloomberg Green
- Aaron Rutkoff, Executive Editor, Bloomberg Green
- Meg Szabo, Senior Editor, Bloomberg Green & Sustainability Events
- Patricia Torres, Global Head of Sustainable Finance Solutions, Bloomberg
- Jennifer Zabasajja, Africa Correspondent, Bloomberg
- Ethan Zindler, Head of Americas, BloombergNEF
The Power of Climate Litigation
Setting legal precedents to accelerate a systemic net zero transition takes a variety of approaches. Laura Clarke OBE, CEO, ClientEarth listed greenwashing, biodiversity, as well as advocating for the right legislation and training prosecutors for local empowerment. Companies that are trying to do the right thing get advice on strategy, not a lawsuit. False advertising has been a recent complaint theme, such as BP, forced to pull its ads boasting of a low-carbon future, when 96% of its operations are in fossil fuels.
Making an impact are lawsuits around impact on indigenous people. “When we can get a case that says an indigenous culture is at risk from climate change, but also that the government has a duty to their people, that’s really powerful, and also in the context of damage and loss.”
Innovating for Clean Cooking & Food Security
A major issue in the “triple challenge” of climate, biodiversity and nature loss is not being addressed, said Jillene Connors Belopolsky, Chief of Staff & External Affairs, Clean Cooking Alliance. Some 2.4 billion people are forced to rely on harmful fuels to cook daily meals. “This comes at enormous cost,” including local economies, the environment and health, with massive land destruction. “More than 34% of all biomass harvested for household use is done so unsustainably, and in precious biodiversity hotspots and carbon sinks around the world.”
Susan Chomba, Director, Vital Landscapes, World Resources Institute noted the other side of the coin; charcoal and wood fuel production is a livelihood for many who have no other income options. Africa has the world’s most extensive land restoration programs, with a national goal to replant 100 million hectares by 2030, but the issue drivers need to be addressed. “We’re planting forests on the one hand, and on the other, they’re being cut.” Systemic interventions for both clean cooking and a jobs economy are needed.
Sophie Odupoy, Group Head of Public Affairs, KOKO Networks spoke about combining technology, infrastructure and policy to bring bioethanol to 700,000 Kenyan households in three years. Using converted, existing liquid fuel systems, the bioethanol is brought as close as possible to users, and dispensed into reusable canisters via “ATMs.” “The reason we’re so successful is because of carbon. We sell carbon credits, which enables us to make the solution affordable.” An investment agreement has been signed with Rwanda to launch there next year, and appeals continue to other countries.
How I Got This Story: Burning Up On the Nile
Laura Millan, EMEA Climate Reporter, Bloomberg Green, offered a deep dive into examining climate change impacts and adaptation in Egypt, which has warmed by 2°, more than any other country. She recalled living there just 10 years ago, and opening a window for a night breeze off the Nile. “It’s not happening anymore.” The Nile is impacted by both drought and rising seas levels. One of the most interesting things she learned was that Egypt had a forestry policy back in the Middle Ages, as a source of wood for palaces and boats. In the modern age, their desert planting method was to “take sewage water from big cities, purify it, and use it to irrigate forests.”
Greener Cities, Greener Living
“The data is now showing that heat kills far more people than any other climate induced change,” said Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, Mayor, Freetown, Sierra Leone, in speaking about the importance of the new role of chief heat officer. It’s a “silent killer” because it doesn’t get the attention that storms and natural disasters do. No one studies or understands the data. “In our city, because we have a chief heat officer, we’ve been able to design specific mitigating strategies. The value of the person is the value of the focus.”
“How do we make our cities, which are becoming more and more death traps the way they are built, cooler?” Eleni Myrivili, Global Chief Heat Officer, UN-Habitat said her role is raising awareness. preparedness and redesign. “Air conditioning spaces is not going to get us out of this mess. It’s just going to make things worse.” Citing an example of a solution, last year’s 3-week long heat wave in Athens prompted the piloting of a new categorization system that uses historical data – and gives names to heat waves – to illustrate to policymakers the risk to human life. “It’s groundbreaking.”
Live Podcast Recording: Zero With Akshat Rathi
Rathi noted that guest Ali Zaidi, National Climate Advisor, The White House, “actually got Republicans to vote for climate policy.” The long list of legislation from the Biden administration includes new standards on cars and trucks. “We’re now moving toward 50% electric by 2030.” In oil and gas, a methane reduction program is already projected at eliminating 100 million tons, over 1% of U.S. emissions. “We are doing stuff on federal procurement that’s pathbreaking – steel, cement, flat glass, clean now, and in the future.” Despite all the work, even if successful, “we’re still going to have to deal with the fires, the droughts, the floods, the hurricanes.”
Special Lunch Session: Unlocking the Power of a Data-Centric Climate Strategy
Sustainability Data: From Averages to Actuals & Action
Ezgi Barcenas, Chief Sustainability Officer, Anheuser-Busch InBev said they already report Scope 3 data, with about 85% of their emissions outside their “four walls.” In the last 4 years, they reduced their emissions by about 30%. Across the whole scope, it was only about 13%. “The more companies invest in deep decarbonization inside their operations, the more that percentage of emissions is going to come from Scope 3.” Ultimately, it’s not a good plan to not take partners along on the journey from the start.
Gunther Rothermel, Senior Vice President, Head of Sustainability Engineering, SAP said one global framework for reporting would be a great thing to have, but said it’s highly unlikely that will happen in the near future. “We still need to progress on some of the standards and regulations themselves to really be able to make it mandatory.” Companies like SAP, he said, with products that also need to meet standards, will, at least for now, have to serve numerous frameworks.
On the why of data reporting, Michael Lotfy, Senior Vice President, Products, Schneider Electric noted the recent UN report on the emissions trajectory. “We are now trending to 2.5, which is catastrophic. To retain 1.5, we need to triple our speed in what we do. So, our reporting and the integrity of data is extremely important.” Schneider has a dedicated, independent arm that helps their partners and customers on their ESG reports.
The New Era of Green Technology
Kate Brandt, Chief Sustainability Officer, Google spoke to corporate commitments around climate, the data role consumers play, and policy directions. Sustainability has been at their core since their founding 23 years ago, Brandt said. “We have been doing things like buying renewable energy since 2010, and reached 100% renewable energy in 2017.” She described their 2020, “third decade of climate action” commitments, with the goal of making it their boldest decade yet. On their emissions challenge, it’s mostly about their own electricity use, and that of their value chain, primarily upstream, such as hardware and servers
Tracking the Global Youth Climate Movement
During a discussion about inclusivity and safety, Archana Soreng, UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisor on Climate Change said she was grateful for the space for youth “To be very honest and frank and direct to the secretary general. We need more spaces in the decision-making processes, at the country and local levels, where we can directly speak to power, and work together.” On a planned meeting with U.S. envoy John Kerry, she said she would ask that a country like the U.S. champion for rights for indigenous people.
Brazil’s new president has vowed to save the rainforests. Paloma Costa, UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisor on Climate Change shared her optimism about a return to a government open to dialogue, with reactivated rainforest and climate funds, a climate secretary and youth advisors who will support him. “I really hope this was not just election promises, but actual implementation. Let’s do it.”
Nathan Metenier, UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisor on Climate Change said the conference was overemphasizing mitigation, while the youth movement looks at climate justice. “Because the reality is, if you push governments to mitigate, and to make sure that it’s all about greenhouse gases, that it’s all about renewable energy, it’s all about technology, then the people just don’t get it, and they don’t vote for the policymakers who push for that.” Climate policies have to be fair and just. “If you do transitions that are unfair, they will never be sustainable.”
Scaling Regenerative Agriculture
Grant F. Reid, Chair, SMI Agribusiness Taskforce, Outgoing CEO, Mars said agriculture takes up about 50% of the earth’s habitable land and accounts for about a third of greenhouse gas emissions, so he is happy to hear its finally a popular subject. “I think the food supply system is broken, and we need to interject quickly, and regenerative agriculture is a big part of planetary and human health joining together to fix it.” The biggest challenge is getting to a meaningful level of impact.
“Farmer incentives,” said Svein Tore Holsether, President & CEO, Yara International, when asked why regenerative agriculture is not catching on faster. “Farmers are business people, and they will respond to a system that awards for sustainable practices.” They are already carrying a lot of burden, which keeps getting heavier as their profit margins drop. “We can’t expect them to do it alone. It’s about the whole value chain approach.” As a fertilizer company, they need to take the same approach in order to push past the 50% emission reduction they have achieved.
Accelerating Africa’s Energy Transition
H.E. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure & Energy, African Union Commission has a long record of commissioning renewable energy projects. She said it’s a position heads of state have taken. In Africa in recent years, there has been an increasing number of natural gas discoveries. As one of the cleanest fuels, “It represents a remedy for the issue of clean cooking and other avenues, as well.” Natural gas sale proceeds could also help ease finances for countries strapped from dealing with natural disasters.
In Conversation With Akim Daouda
Akim Daouda, CEO, Sovereign Wealth Fund of the Gabonese Republic is leading the largest ever issuance – 90 million tons – of sovereign carbon credits coming from the forest, with tremendous co-benefits. “The critical element of this issuance is the multiplier effect that it will present for the remaining rainforest countries.” Asked what makes Gabon unique, he said “It’s the only OPEC nation that compares to be a super green power,” and is the last habitat for the forest elephant on the continent. Gabon is in the Congo Basin, which is “the last lungs of the world. So, this is our last defense line in the battle against climate change.”
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