EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK: Leaders urge investment in innovation for climate and post-pandemic recovery

Financing innovation is key to driving the development of low-carbon technologies, European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer said at the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia, Thursday.

“The energy sector provides the perfect model: decades of investment have led to the availability of relatively cheap, clean energy generation and distribution technology that can be deployed at scale,” President Hoyer told the gathering of world leaders, policy makers, academics and media. “It is a massive success that other sectors need to emulate.”

The public sector plays an important role in this investment. But the scale of the challenge means that private sector investment is indispensable, said Hoyer. The EIB is ready to support the transition to low-carbon technologies and will play a key role in mobilising private finance with its financial and technical expertise. Still, additional effort to unlock private investment is needed, given its current low levels.

The greatest risks associated with climate change would emerge if carbon emitting countries and industries fail to align with the aims of the Paris Agreement, he said. Nevertheless, “some impacts will be unavoidable even if we do successfully tackle climate change with urgent measures,” he said, citing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent report, described as a “code red for humanity”. This is why, alongside our mitigation efforts, we need to do more on adaptation.

European Investment Bank Vice President Lilyana Pavlova tied the move to invest in these new climate technologies to the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that there is an opportunity to accomplish both these policy goals through a “green recovery”.

Speaking at the same forum dedicated to Central and Southeastern Europe, Pavlova said the European Union’s green recovery plan should focus on investment in climate technology. “We need to transform the way our economies work by investing heavily in new technologies, in skills and in infrastructure, all entailing climate mitigation and climate adaptation,” Pavlova said.

During the Forum, President Hoyer and Vice President Pavlova met with Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Janša and Minister of Finance Andrej Šircelj. They discussed how to foster a green recovery and the EIB’s continued support for the Slovenian economy, with financing and advisory services.