SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Aligning Finance with the Paris Climate Goals

Shelagh Whitley (Overseas Development Institute - ODI)

Date: 9 January 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 9 January 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: ALT

Type of Event: Seminar


Article 2.1c of the Paris Agreement breaks new ground. It is the first time that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process has set a collective goal reflecting the full scale of effort needed on finance to successfully address climate change. It acknowledges a vital piece of the puzzle in tackling climate change, sending a strong signal about the need to look at all finance (both public and private, domestic and international) and ensure it is supportive of, and not undermining, the transition to a low-greenhouse gas emission, climate-resilient world. 

To meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement and reap the wider benefits of climate-compatible investment, governments and non-state actors need to identify processes – both within the UNFCCC and beyond – to operationalise Article 2.1c and explore the array of tools available to cost-effectively manage the transition. Recent ODI research develops a three-part framework to support governments and non-state actors to identify opportunities to: (1) drive action to mobilise and shift finance; (2) track progress against Article 2.1c; and (3) increase ambition. As part of highlighting the approaches that can be taken both inside and outside of the UNFCCC, we outline the four key sets of tools that primarily governments can employ to shift finance. This toolkit includes financial policies and regulations, fiscal policy levers, public finance and information instruments.

I will present the four sets of tools that governments can employ to shift finance in detail, with a focus on one of the tools (fiscal policy levers). This will include a case study on ODI’s programme of research, engagement and outreach on phasing out fossil fuel subsidies as a key tool to support alignment of finance with the Paris goals.

Speaker Biography

Shelagh Whitley is Head of the Climate and Energy Programme at ODI. Shelagh leads ODI’s research on fossil fuel subsidies, green fiscal policy and private climate finance.

From 2006 - 2011 Shelagh worked for Camco, a carbon project developer, on the origination, execution and financing of carbon projects covering a range of low carbon technologies in Asia, Africa, and North and South America. Shelagh was the Chair of the Carbon Markets and Investors Association (CMIA) Voluntary Market stream, and Vice-Chair of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Gold Standard (for carbon credits).

From 2004 - 2006 Shelagh was a Project Manager with The Climate Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing business and government leadership on climate change. Shelagh has a Masters Degree in International Environmental Policy and Finance from the Fletcher School at Tufts University in the United States, and a Combined Honours BSc in Biology and International Development Studies from Dalhousie University in Canada.

Organiser: Ulrich Volz

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Contact Tel: +44(0) 207 898 4721