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Climate leaders share stories with purpose at Talanoa Dialogue

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chair of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and R20, partnered with the Prime Minister of Fiji and COP23 President Frank Bainimarama to convene a meeting that brought together key actors and thought leaders. The meeting focused on the impact of sub-national financial systems and explored how joint public/private financing can support low-carbon and climate resilient infrastructure in developing nations.

This meeting was part of the Talanoa Dialogues, a global process requested by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to take stock of collective efforts to reduce emissions and build greater resilience, in line with the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement.
Chaired by Arnold Schwarzenegger and moderated by Climate Policy Initiative Executive Director, Barbara Buchner, the dialogue was held at Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator on Thursday, October 25th and included participants such as Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama (via satellite link), singer and philanthropist Akon, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Fijian Ambassador to the U.S Solo Mara, former California State Senator Fran Pavley, LACI CEO Matt Petersen, CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Terry Tamminen, Commissioner California Energy Commission, David Hochschild, Founder of the Global Environment Project Institute, Rampa Hormel,  and many others.


Climate change is too big of an issue to leave to national governments alone.


Fijian Ambassador to the U.S. Solo Mara explained that Talanoa Dialogues give political leaders the encouragement, inspiration, and ideas they need to further their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) leading up to COP24. The inspiring and informative dialogue highlighted the importance of climate finance, impact investing, and climate action at the sub-national level.

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and Fijian Ambassador to the U.S. Solo Mara thanked Governor Schwarzenegger for his leadership in sub-national climate action.  Prime Minister Bainimarama spoke about the importance of sub-national climate action, explaining, “climate change is too big of an issue to leave to national governments alone.”  Ambassador Mara added that, for Fiji, innovative financing solutions are a matter of survival.

CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Terry Tamminen shared the success story of R20’s LED Street Lighting Programme in Rio de Janeiro as an example of what can be achieved with innovative climate financing, and Chief Executive Officer of BlueOrchard Patrick Scheurle shared the story of R20 and BlueOrchard’s Sub national Climate Fund Africa (SnCF Africa), which is both scalable and replicable, and will unlock billions of co-investment capital.  Special Advisor to the AfroChampions Executive Committee Edem Adzogenu also spoke about SnCF Africa, adding that, “Great ideas without financing are hallucinations,” and, “If the most valuable thing we have on this planet is the life that we have, the only business we need to focus on now is how to protect everything that our lives depend on for existence.”

In his opening statement, Prime Minister Bainimarama shared the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finding that the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is still achievable, but requires immediate and effective action.  Throughout the impactful stories shared at the Dialogue, there was no shortage of examples of this kind of action.  The success of each of the governments and organizations represented demonstrates the power of innovative climate financing, impact investment, and sub-national climate action.  Governor Schwarzenegger left the group with the inspiring message: “You have to go out and fight. Fight, fight, and fight. One person can make a difference.”

For more information check out a rundown of the event from the USC Schwarzenegger Institute or watch the full event here.

New Alliance for Sustainability in Finance

The Talanoa Dialogue was followed by the announcement of a new alliance, « The Green Economy and Finance Initiative » between the University of Zurich, the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and R20.


“It is fantastic that the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and R20 are forging a new alliance with the University of Zurich today."


Private wealth management and investment strategies are crucial in supporting and promoting sustainable projects. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Climate Change agreement will cost at least $90-100 trillion over the next 15 years, leaving an estimated $2.5 trillion funding gap. These ambitious but imperative goals can only be achieved through a joint effort by academia, political leaders, the non-profit sector, technology holders and the financial markets. The Green Economy and Finance Initiative aims to answer that need and lead the world in implementing green finance practices.

“It is fantastic that the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and R20 are forging a new alliance with the University of Zurich today," said former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  “The three organizations will work together to help accelerate the transition to sustainable clean energy and make the world safer and healthier for all its citizens. By combining academic research with green financing initiatives and sub-national leadership I am confident that we can meet the ambitious goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.”
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