The Green Recovery

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Before COVID-19 arrived on the scene, the world had been slowly awakening from its environmental complacency. Multinationals were voicing commitments to new, more environmentally conscious forms of corporate governance. Youth activists had mobilized a global climate movement of unprecedented scale. The European Commission had unveiled plans for a European Green Deal, following proposals in the US for a Green New Deal to transform the world’s largest economy. Since then, most major economies have suffered deep contractions, forcing central banks and fiscal authorities to pull out all of the stops in responding.

The pandemic has brutally reminded even the rich world that humanity has not conquered nature. By upending markets, work arrangements, supply chains, and public perceptions of risk, it has permanently changed the world in countless ways. To focus on what comes next, Project Syndicate is convening a wide range of experts for a series of in-depth discussions on the path to a green recovery, with an emphasis on biodiversity, energy, public investments, and financial and corporate governance.

The recovery will bring far-reaching opportunities to accelerate the transition to renewable energies, reorient business and finance toward sustainable development, and reconsider our relationship with nature. But it will also open a window for populists, nationalists, and others to exploit public anxieties and pursue zero-sum politics. The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that averting the worst-case climate scenario will depend entirely on the actions taken (or not taken) in the 2020s. The stakes could not be higher. How do we proceed from here?



Day One: September 16, 2020
Moderators: Ben Chu and Lizzy Burden
Session One – Green Dealing While the original New Deal was famously experimental in nature – with the Roosevelt administration trying everything, keeping what worked, and abandoning what didn’t – today’s proposed Green Deals have already been fully mapped out.
9:00AM Opening Remarks
 Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank
9:05AM Panel Discussion and Q&A with International media
  1. Carlos Lopes, Former Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa
  2. Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland, Chair of The Elders
  3. Joseph Stiglitz , Nobel laureate economist
10:10AM Break
Session Two – The Return(s) of Nature While the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted one of the major threats posed by nature, achieving widespread buy-in for biodiversity efforts demands that policymakers also recognize the far-reaching benefits natural systems offer.
10:30AM Opening Remarks  Juan Manuel Santos, Former President of Colombia (2010-18), Nobel Peace laureate, Member of The  Elders
10:35AM Panel Discussion and Q&A with International media
  1. Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, co-founder of Global Optimism Ltd
  2. Anne Larigauderie, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
  3. Jennifer Morris, CEO of the Nature Conservancy
  4. Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact
Day Two: September 17, 2020
Moderator: Jo Coburn
Session Three – Can Green Business Be Good Business? Although few major corporations would dare to withhold public support for the broader climate agenda, there is still an open question as to how much Big Business’s words are translating into actions.
9:00AM Opening Remarks  Gordon Brown, Former Prime Minister of the UK
9:05AM Panel Discussion and Q&A with International media
  1. Eila Kreivi, Head of Capital Markets at the European Investment Bank
  2. Rebecca Henderson, University Professor at Harvard Business School
  3. Jim O’Neill, Chair of Chatham House
  4. Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation & Public Value at University College London (UCL), Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose
10:10AM Break
Session Four – Closing the Circuit With the costs of solar, wind, and battery storage having plummeted over the past decade, the biggest hurdle to decarbonization is no longer technological but political.
10:30AM Opening Remarks  Kevin Rudd, Former Prime Minister of Australia
10:35AM Panel Discussion and Q&A with International media
  1. Omran Al-Kuwari, CEO of the Qatar Foundation International
  2. Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya, Former CEO of PEMEX
  3. Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute
  4. Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation
11:40AM In Conversation  Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and
 Bertrand Badré, CEO of Blue Like an Orange Capital

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  1. Many people here at the bank agree that this was the most professional looking, well moderated, and entertaining event we have supported or participated in... The speakers were top-level and highly knowledgable throughout, and the whole design was very slick.

    Dirk Heilmann
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