Climate Action

We need a Marshall Plan to tackle the environment: HRH Prince of Wales

Britain's Prince Charles delivers a special address during the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 22, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse - RC22LE92QCCK

HRH Prince Charles delivered a special address during the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 22, 2020 Image: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse - RC22LE92QCCK

Linda Lacina
Digital Editor, World Economic Forum
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This article is part of: Sustainable Development Impact Summit
  • HRH Prince of Wales shared six levers of a Marshall-like plan to tackle climate change and save the environment.
  • Bank of America CEO Moynihan: The right leaders committed to action can ensure sustainable solutions go “further faster.”

How do we continue our progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals? That was the question posed Thursday at the closing session of the Forum's Sustainable Development Impact Summit, a four-day virtual event where leaders from business, government and non-profits came together to address how to put the world back on a path of sustainable, equitable, and inclusive growth by engineering a Great Reset of social and economic systems.

Here are some of the insights brought by panelists at today’s closing session.

The scale of the reset is “totally unprecedented,” HRH the Prince of Wales explained, but its progress could be accelerated with a Marshall-like plan for people, nature and planets.

The plan, he said, has six levers and they include:

  • Implementing effective and equitable carbon pricing (or the ‘polluter pays’ principle) to accelerate decarbonization by changing the behavior of consumers, businesses, and investors while unleashing innovation.
  • Accelerating the development, implementation and scaling up of carbon capture, use and storage (both nature-based and engineered).
  • Establishing a credible and trusted global carbon offset market to connect well-meaning net-zero offset efforts with credible and effective nature-based and engineered solutions to reduce carbon emissions and restore biodiversity.
  • Tackling subsidies, such as those for fossil fuels.
  • Creating a recognized global ecosystem services market to incentivize farmers and fisherman to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve water quality, marine ecosystems, fish stocks and water use efficiency.
  • Advancing sustainable urbanism, protecting the urban-rural balance and protecting ecosystems, natural capital and food production.

Unless the world can address these points, said HRH the Prince of Wales, “we will never overcome the constant obstacles that exist to real progress” leading to both “catastrophe and dysfunction.”

To be sure, to put such efforts into motion, collaborations must design, take actions and create solutions that scale. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan serves as the co-chair of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, an industry action group announced by HRH the Prince of Wales last January at the Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos. Moynihan explained that the groups’ sessions are solutions-focused, laying out problems that members can address.

“These are a pretty substantial group of people.” With the help of well-placed decision-makers, plans can be implemented quickly and the group can “move further faster”.

“We need collective action,” said Moynihan. “And the collective action has to be all of these great private companies working together to create solutions that can only scale with lots of participants.”

Still, time is of the essence and urgency is critical. “What we need rapidly is to connect and accelerate the multitude of emerging initiatives linked to the Great Reset,” said Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum’s Founder and Executive Chairman.

Added HRH the Prince of Wales: “All we get at the moment is more and more talking. But what people around the world want is actual and real development of solutions on the ground.”

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