Malavika Bambawale of ENGIE Impact discusses the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference and the energy crisis.
Transcript has been edited for clarity
Sri Jegarajah: 100 billion dollars annually is needed to help developing countries transition to Net Zero. Is the political will there to secure these commitments, or will it fall short?
Malavika Bambawale: Great to be here. The political will has not been stronger. It was amazing to see how the countries came together and started to create commitments and ratchet up their efforts. Even in the region, we see that Singapore has made a Net Zero commitment by 2050. Australia, Indonesia, and others are ratcheting up their nationally determined contributions. So, there is a great amount of political will, going forward to COP 27. And as you rightly said, there is a big financing gap of $100 billion. But we're hoping there will be continued passion toward making this happen.
Sri Jegarajah: Can the private sector really step up in this kind of environment, especially when you consider how the energy crisis has still not been resolved. Due to the Ukraine-Russia war, which drags on, we now have a global economic slowdown, inflation, and higher rates on our hands. All of this is going to conspire to change the narrative, isn't it?
Malavika Bambawale: Absolutely, the political climate is very challenging. The energy crisis has not made things easier for any situation. In the short term, there has been this move to basically close the gap with coal, etc. But the important thing is that we have to make sure that our medium- and long-term plans to move towards renewable forms of energy are robust. We need to ensure that those investments are being made, because ultimately low carbon energy is going to be a good solution. I would say it is like a silver bullet because it's abundant and it's cheap when it's invested in already. It helps you make the kinds of investments that provide the business imperative for cheap energy. Regarding the private sector, I think it does need to make these investments. I think public-private partnerships, where the public sector can de-risk some of the private sector and provide the framework for them to make sure that their investments see returns in the long-run will be really important.