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Private Money Can Decarbonise The Economy

The investor community will play a decisive role in decarbonising the economy Ekos CEO Dr Sean Weaver told the ‘Decarbonising New Zealand’ conference today.

“There is simply not enough money in the public sector for this task, which is why market mechanisms like a carbon market are fundamental to climate action. The beating heart of a carbon market instrument is a stable carbon price that is high enough to reflect the threat that carbon emissions pose to society,” Weaver said.

“We are looking at a truly scary pipeline of risk to agricultural production, infrastructure, health, fisheries, and financial markets where the cost of inaction will outweigh the cost of the solution by an order of magnitude.,” Weaver said.

“The industrial revolution happened because investors, government, scientists and entrepreneurs were all in alignment. We need another industrial revolution to combat climate change,” he said.

“But we cannot wait for governments to fix the climate problem. They are just too slow. The on-going saga of weak and broken promises coming out of UN climate conferences like the one that just finished in Glasgow is living proof,” he said.

“Our own successive governments have been too afraid to scare the investment horses so it is time for the horses to lead the charge” Weaver said.

According to Weaver many viable solutions are ready to be scaled up - from electric rideshare car fleets in cities to regenerative agriculture and restorative forestry rurally. But the key missing ingredient is investment at a sufficient scale.

“We actually need a change in the system itself,” Weaver said. “It is not about moving to electric versions of private cars. That’s the old wine in a new bottle. Decarbonisation is about changing the entire system of urban transport. Imagine a future where you have lots of cycleways, and a car version of green scooters all across the city, combined with an efficient mass transport network where the payment mechanism for both motorised systems is an affordable monthly or annual subscription like Spotify. Then city people will not need to own a car and the car population will plummet,” Weaver said.

“We already have companies like Mevo doing this whilst struggling against strong headwinds. This kind of innovation needs to become the new normal and the investment community does not need to wait for an election mandate to make it happen. Then the government can focus on helping to lower investment risk for revolutions like this to happen across the entire economy,” he said.

Sean Weaver is founder and CEO of Ekos. He is pioneering market-based models for climate action and sustainable land management in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. He has consulted to the World Bank, African Development Bank, the Pacific Community, Pacific Island governments, central and local government in New Zealand, as well as businesses, universities and community organisations.

He is a former Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies at Victoria University of Wellington and the University of the South Pacific and has a PhD in Forestry.

Ekos website:



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