Monday, 25 January 2016 / Published in LATEST NEWS


Executive Chairman ZHANG Yi Visits KTH Royal Institute of Technology of Sweden


On January 21st, 2016, Executive Chairman ZHANG Yi paid a visit to KTH Royal Institute of Technology of Sweden in the company of Ms. Vanessa Folkesson, Head of Nordic Team of EUCNC. Mr. ZHANG Yi has conferred with the heads of several sci-tech startups of great significance that originate from KTH as for the feasible cooperation. The concerned parties have reached the consensus on the joint efforts of promoting the sci-tech cooperation between China and Nordic countries.

Mr. ZHANG Yi firstly exchanged the views with Mr. Karl Magnus Mattsson, Founder and CEO of SWESTEP and Mr. Klas Engvall, Professor of KTH as for the green technology cooperation.

At the meetings, Mr. ZHANG Yi made the detailed presentation on the commercial opportunities that sprouted out of current situations of China, namely economic transformation and industrial upgrading. He remarked, EUCNC put the sci-tech innovation cooperation on the top priority and set the work under the guidance of “European Technology, Chinese Market, Win-Win Cooperation”. In the meanwhile, EUCNC has reached the consensus with several Chinese cities as for the sci-tech cooperation with a view to substantiating China-Europe Urbanization Partnership with the tangible projects.

Scientists and engineers of KTH indicated their ready willingness of making their contribution to Sino-European people through the concrete sci-tech projects by virtue of the platform of EUCNC.

Mr. ZHANG Yi offered the invitation to the scientists and engineers to visit China in due time. EUCNC would set the stage for these sci-tech companies on which they could present themselves to the full, which would bring forth the possibility as for the future cooperation. Scientists and engineers of KTH were quite looking forward to the related arrangements and expressed their willingness of facilitating the in-depth cooperation between KTH and EUCNC.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015 / Published in NEWS From the world

Launch of new sustainable development agenda to guide development actions for the next 15 years

30 DEC 2015 – The new year ushers in the official launch of the bold and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders last September at the United Nations. The new Agenda calls on countries to begin efforts to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the next 15 years. “The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.”The SDGs, unanimously adopted by the UN’s 193 Member States at an historic summit in September 2015, address the needs of people in both developed and developing countries, emphasising that no one should be left behind. Broad and ambitious in scope, the Agenda addresses the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental, as well as important aspects related to peace, justice and effective institutions.The mobilization of means of implementation, including financial resources, technology development and transfer and capacity-building, as well as the role of partnerships, are also acknowledged as critical. The Paris Conference on climate change is seen by many as the first test of political will to implement the Agenda. “The Paris Agreement is a triumph for people, the planet, and for multilateralism. For the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb their emissions, strengthen resilience and act internationally and domestically to address climate change. By addressing climate change we are advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said the UN Secretary-General.Turning this vision into reality is primarily the responsibility of countries, but it will also require new partnerships and international solidarity. Everyone has a stake and everyone has a contribution to make. Reviews of progress will need to be undertaken regularly in each country, involving civil society, business and representatives of various interest groups. At the regional level, countries will share experiences and tackle common issues, while on an annual basis at the United Nations, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), will take stock of progress at the global level, identifying gaps and emerging issues, and recommending corrective action.The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets of the new agenda will be monitored and reviewed using a set of global indicators. These will be compiled into an Annual SDG Progress Report.



Source: UN-DPI

Monday, 28 September 2015 / Published in NEWS From the world

Marching forward: China is creating the world’s largest market-based carbon pricing system.


China – the world largest emitter of greenhouse gases – is implementing a national carbon market in 2017


During his visit to Washington last week, China’s President Xi Jinping confirmed that the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, which has pledged to reduce its carbon intensity and reach a peak of overall emissions by 2030, will use a cap-and-trade market approach to help realize this.

China already has 7 pilot markets in cities and provinces in place that cover 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Under the national scheme, now to go live in 2017, this could increase to 4 billion tons according to Chinese researchers – making it the world’s largest national emissions trading system.

It’s an exciting step and demonstration of China’s commitment to achieve its low carbon goals.

For those of us working in the trenches, the momentum towards carbon pricing is clear and the use of markets to realize this ambition incontrovertible. So this Chinese policy decision did not come as a surprise.

As Xueman Wang, our team’s leading specialist on the development of Chinese carbon markets explained, “Over a year ago, the Chinese authorities shared that the national scheme would be launched by 2016 or 2017, and so President Xi’s announcement leaves no doubt of their commitment to get started as soon as possible.”

Our relationship to support China to reduce emissions started over a decade ago with technical assistance on the Clean Development Mechanism and supporting some of China’s first projects to earn carbon credits.

As my colleague Neeraj Prasad – who 14 years ago led the Bank’s initial outreach on this with the Chinese authorities — tells it, “The Chinese government understood that there were both financial and environmental gains in reducing emissions.”

This is even more evident today; our recent State & Trends of Carbon Pricing 2015 report underscores the need for international collaboration to lower the cost of reducing emissions with potential transfers amounting to $2 trillion per year by 2050.

Today, we continue to support China in achieving its goals, including the implementation of this new nationwide market. The World Bank’s Partnership for Market Readiness provides technical assistance and helps knowledge exchange among most of the world’s largest emitters, including China, where it supports the design of its national emissions trading system. It provides countries with the funding they need to design a carbon market, while serving as a platform to share experience and best practices.

Through our private sector arm, IFC, we are also working with some Chinese exchanges and financial institutions to strengthen carbon trading programs and develop products to support increased market liquidity and manage liabilities. We are helping them set up trading platforms and act as market intermediates by ultimately offering trading, hedging and advisory services to their clients when the markets are fully established. This infrastructure will be key.

And it isn’t just China; other countries are designing and implementing market-based carbon pricing mechanisms.Today, there are 62 national or subnational entities worldwide who have carbon pricing instruments in place, covering 12 percent of global emissions (about 7 billion tons of carbon emissions).

This represents a threefold increase over the last decade. A great accomplishment, but more is needed, as are systems and protocols to network these disparate markets.

As World Bank Group President Jim Kim said in response to China’s announcement on Friday: “Carbon pricing is not a panacea, but it is the necessary step to fast track low carbon growth and resilient development. China’s leadership is the kind of strong signal that the political process to Paris needs”.


Source: Worldbank

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 / Published in NEWS From the world

Why climate change adaptation is key to managing global risks

Image: REUTERS/Aly Song
The consequences of climate change are causing growing concern among global leaders as they intersect with a large number of interconnected global risks.

The Global Risks Report 2016, published by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Zurich Insurance Group and other leading institutions, found that while geopolitical risk such as uncontrolled immigration and interstate conflicts were seen as the most likely threat, climate issues were the risk factors most likely to influence other risks and thus had the greatest potential impact.

Failure of national governance was seen as the highest risk to doing business by executives in 14 countries, half of them in Latin America, four in sub-Saharan Africa, two in Eastern Europe and one in Asia.

Geopolitical risks

Those findings are hardly surprising, given that geopolitical tensions are now at their highest level since the end of the Cold War, with growing tension over maritime rights in the South China Sea, an ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine creating security concerns across the old soviet bloc and military intervention in Syria.

Elsewhere, there are heightened terrorism fears across Europe in the wake of the Paris attack in November 2015, continuing economic uncertainty across Europe after elections in Spain and the collapse of Portugal’s government, and concerns over global growth following a slowdown in the BRICS economies.

These tensions create numerous challenges for businesses and society. Companies face cancelled projects, interruptions to production and supply chains, restrictions on various activities and, potentially, politically motivated attacks on their employees and facilities. Heightened nationalism also increases the risk of protectionist measures and asset seizures.

Geopolitical tensions also divert resources and energy from addressing other issues of mutual concern, including climate change, while politicizing debates around key issues such as market regulation, cyber-crime and mutual security.

Climate change

Climate change remains one of the most pressing contributing factors to geopolitical and other risks, but mitigation efforts have largely failed.

In 2015, the global concentration of carbon dioxide – a key driver of climate change – exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time in recorded history, while global temperatures appear to have risen by 1 degree Celsius from the pre-Industrial era. The changes are already posing grave challenges for businesses and humanity, including an increase in coastal flooding, falling agricultural production, declining biodiversity, eco-system collapse (accompanied by declines in fish stocks, etc.), and higher costs for cooling and irrigation.

Those risks also have geopolitical consequences. Many people link the Arab spring uprising in 2011 to rising wheat prices, which resulted in protests in the streets of Libya, while potential disputes over water rights could lead to conflict.

Globally, withdrawals of fresh water have increased threefold over the last 50 years and demand is anticipated to rise by a further 40% by 2030.

Collaboration and cooperation

Given the scale and ever increasing complexity and interconnectivity of the challenges posed by climate change, political and other risk factors, it is perhaps understandable that many stakeholders choose to focus instead on the issues that they can manage. In a 2011 survey by the Wharton Business School, for example, more than half of respondents said that the simplest way to manage geopolitical risks was to avoid investing in volatile markets.

Interconnectivity, however, makes such calculations impractical. As the growing immigration crisis in the EU demonstrates, such risks no longer recognize national boundaries. That makes it increasing important that all stakeholders in society work together to address pressing global challenges.

Businesses need to factor potential environmental risks and their contingencies into their business planning and become more proactive in addressing climate challenges. At Zurich, for example, we are contributing to pressing social and environmental issues with investments of up to $2 billion in green bonds to fund projects from hydroelectric power plants to ecological firms; as well as impact investing through private equity to help mitigate environmental risks by supporting a low-carbon economy and encouraging environmentally friendly technologies.

The greatest challenge for corporations is to build resilience to climate and other hazards. This requires a new, more integrated and holistic risk management approach which takes interdependencies between risks into account, with a truly holistic risk management approach. Corporate boards must own the risk agenda because they own the strategy which is inherently intertwined with risk. The board’s role is to set the agenda, drive the culture of risk and oversee implementation throughout the organisation.

The Global Risks Report 2016 is available here.

Author:Cecilia Reyes, Chief Risk Officer & Regional Chairman of Asia Pacific, Zurich Insurance Group


Source: World Economic Forum