The Ultimate Challenge: How Business, Diplomacy, and Technology Can Help Solve the Climate Crisis
Good morning, and thank you, Sophia for the introduction this event brings together true very special things to me the University of Michigan and seeing the ability, I can't wait to hear what the planet has to say about them this morning. I am personally based in Egypt work, climate change is an increasing the topic of increasing awareness it's closing it's contributing to the water shortage in the country. And you know we're all very, very keen to see things improve on that front. But first i'm pleased to introduce Steve grafton the President and CEO of the alumni Association, the University of Michigan since 1994 Steve is provide the leadership and direction to the association across all UN campuses he is a national leader. In the education and advancement field serving many leadership roles for the Council for advancement and support of education and on a personal note, Stephen his wife Carol have two sons or us alumni. See grafton welcome.
Thank you, thank you, Omar so great to see you this morning and all of our our participants it's it's great to be with all of you, and let me just say Happy New Year. Many of you on this call, I can say, also an early Happy New Year it's it's really wonderful that you've all joined us this morning it's just. it's just such a disappointing thing not to be able to gather together this year for the pan Asia alumni reunion like we normally would. And, and I missed it last year had looked forward, perhaps to that coming back this year and i'm disappointed again that we can't be.
physically together, but this is great because we, we can include a lot of people and and still learn a lot and and maintain our connection I often say that you know. There have been a lot of things that have been negative about coven, but one thing that will never happen and that's it will not defeat. The unity of the Michigan family we're still together and that's great. And, and we have this great program for you today i'm really excited about it, like Omar said i'm also excited to learn it's a very important issue, we talked about the.
The international climate crisis that we have there's a lot that we need to be talking about and learning about and. and frankly there's a lot, we need to do and we'll hear about that and and who better to moderate a discussion about climate crisis and one of the world's experts in climate change, especially when she is from our own University of Michigan. Jennifer Haber camp is the Graham family director of the University of michigan's Graham sustainability Institute and she also holds positions at the Michigan law school and the Gerald Ford school of public policy.
And, and currently is co chairing Michigan President whistles Commission on carbon neutrality, a very important project for the university. Professor Haber campus had held several positions related to trade and environment at the very highest levels of our United States Government. and has taught at the cornell and George Washington university law schools, as well as the Johns Hopkins graduate school.
So clearly Professor Havre camp has much to offer and i'm just thrilled that she is sharing her expertise with us today, as she moderates this tremendous panel, so please join me in welcoming professor and director Jennifer paver camp. Steve Thank you so much for that kind introduction. The good news is that i'm joined by three incredible representatives of the University of Michigan Community faculty and alumni and we have a lot that we want to share with you and we want to spend a significant chunk of the time also answering your questions. Before I turn to our panelists I want to just say a little bit to frame the topic talk about the climate crisis international climate diplomacy and say a little more about what the University of Michigan ourselves are doing on climate change.
urgency of the climate problem, it is no longer a problem of the future, the impacts are already being felt, you can see this in more intense storms droughts. Fish Stocks moving to colder waters that are changing the local economies, and it seems like it's in the news constantly this week, the latest news is a study that released on Monday. That reports that global ice is melting i'm at the rate of the worst case scenarios that the scientists who've been studying this, which means that the sea level rise anticipated from melting ice sheets may have been underestimated by at least a factor of two. Here at the University of Michigan it's very much an issue of concern by our students and you can understand why i'm. Every year in the lives of our current undergraduates has been well above the 20th century's average in terms of temperature and nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2005. Unfortunately we're on track for three to four degrees of global warming, if we do not take action, globally, we urgently need to limit that to one and a half degrees of warming.
Which means according to the scientists local scientists to comprise the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That means that we need by 2030 globally if 45% reduction in emissions from 2010 levels and by 2015 mid century, we need to reach global neutrality, meaning a balance between what is it it's absorbed back into the ocean into the trees or its technology. So how're countries trying to deal with this issue globally diplomatically i'm sure you've all heard of the Paris climate agreement. And you probably also know that it really doesn't have anything to do with France it's named the Paris Agreement because Paris is where that agreement was concluded and that's the global convention.
In this agreement briefly countries agreed to limit global temperature rise to well below two degrees centigrade and to try to try to reach that one and a half degrees that I mentioned. it's the agreement is sometimes criticized as being toothless because it is not binding, I noticed that one of the questions we got from audience in advance, was to ask how do you make it legally enforceable um briefly certain parts of it are binding obligations around reporting and. accounting for what you're doing, but the basic core commitments of the agreement that countries make are in fact non binding their voluntary, but that was essential frankly to getting this agreement. In the first place, because you were never going to get countries like the United States developed countries making binding commitments unless major emerging economies like China also did so.
They were not prepared to make binding commitments, and so the result was that everyone has these nationally determined contributions which each country sets on its own. So these were all set in when the agreement was reached. The next thing that is supposed to happen this is quite important, the very next annual meeting of the UN Climate Convention in Glasgow Scotland next November, is where countries come back with their new hopefully improved and strengthened national be determined commitments. This event was supposed to happen this past December, but between brexit and colgate it's been postponed a year. Which is probably a good thing, because it means that countries will also see what the United States now that it has rejoined this agreement is willing to do with respect to its national a determined contribution, which will hopefully also inspire others to greater ambition. You can expect a lot of diplomatic activity, between now and December November as countries come forward with their new commitments.
The European Commission has already, the European Union has already announced a trillion dollar Green Deal, which is intended to reduce their emissions and foster economic growth. The other country that everyone is watching very closely to China. And the fact that China and the United States came together in 2014 to announce our commitments was but paved the way for the Paris Agreement and China has. announced an updating of their commitment already, which is to pique their emissions before 2030 and reached carbon neutrality by 2016 that can be after 2050 as emerging economy. But the problem with China is that they continue to have a very heavy reliance on coal and they need to phase out their use of quote by 2040 and they are still building new coal plants and a quarter of all new cool being built around the world is financed by China or it's companies. it's probably not a coincidence that, in the last three years, China was relaxing it strict requirements on new coal plants given.
That since 2017 the United States also has been reversing and delaying our policies to reduce our fossil fuel emissions so as that changes in the US watch what happens in other countries as well. And, as you know, President Biden on his first day announced that the US was rejoining the agreement also Secretary, I mean no longer Secretary Kerry is special climate advisor. john Kerry announced on Monday, the US is going to fulfill a commitment of $3 billion to something called the Green Climate Fund that Jennifer leaky might speak more about which is a developing countries to mitigation and application.
Briefly, before I pan over her pen lists the University of Michigan presidential missile committed the university to a pathway to carbon neutrality. and created a Commission to come up with recommendations in that regard, which I co chair i'm. Our Commission has draft recommendations out for public comment, we will finalize our report and delivered to the President and the regents. In the end of February it's a we're in a cold climate and it's an expensive and difficult proposition, but the university wants to lead and is prepared to lead on this issue.
On we're kind of a microcosm of the globe, because to succeed, we need the environment involvement of the entire University of Michigan Community technology that cultural shifts. And we're also similarly trying to really ramp up the university's research with respect to carbon neutrality there's a new fund for faculty research and. The Graham Institute, which I am the director of along with the school of environment and sustainability, as well as engineering. or hosting some clean energy conversations for faculty to come together explore the real world problems, the most need their attention and identify opportunities to collaborate.
Now for our panel these panelists have really deep and wide expertise, a common theme that you might hear across them. Is around the challenges and opportunities that are presented by the built environment, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the activities and the infrastructure of our global mega cities. And how they need to transition quickly to a low carbon economy and to become resilient to their already changing climate of course it's not limited to cities but there's a common expertise across our panelists in that realm.
First you'll hear from Jennifer leaking who's the global director of the energy program at the world resources Institute. And is also an alum of the school of natural resources and the Ross school of business after Jennifer you will hear from brands sweat. principal and group leader of Arab who is all and is also the director of cities and sustainable real estate or Europe and the Americas Ryan to is an alum of the school of natural resources and Ross. And finally, our own distinguished professor of engineering Victor Lee. Who is also a professor of civil and environmental engineering Professor material science and engineering and Professor of macro molecular science and engineering and with that I turn it over to Jennifer.
Thank you Jennifer and to all of you, good evening Good morning, thank you for joining us i'm delighted to be here. As global director of world resources institute's energy program i'm involved in activities associated with the development of renewable energy resources, energy efficiency. and energy access around the world in today, I wanted to focus a little bit more on the. Some of the challenges that we're facing in scaling investments and and finance, in order to manage the very significant shift in our energy sector that's required in order to tackle climate change, the energy sector is. been dominated by fossil fuels and at this point, we have a wonderful inflection point, this is what truly one of the bright spots in the climate change story.
we're at an inflection point where many renewable electricity generation sources, wind and solar geothermal hydro power are all in most in two thirds of the world are all competitive. or under the cost of fossil fuel based power technologies, so the question I think facing us in this space is what do we need to do to change the business patterns that have perpetuated the development of these types. of resources So how do we move from an understanding and our major institutions and in our policies of creating economic development through coal plants to gas plants and through oil and and petroleum. and move to a renewable future wri along with the climate works foundation launched a report in the fall. On the state of climate action in that report, we found that despite the significant.
Changes in the economics associated with renewable energy, we are still not on track, we need to increase investment and the financing of renewable energy or renewable electricity in particular still six times more. quickly than we have actually made those investments to date and to give you a. sense of the scale of the challenge we also recognize that the transition to electric vehicles which, of course, from a technological standpoint. is lagging behind, where we are renewable energy, we needed to increase our transportation by 22 times the amount of investment and the speed of the transition.
So we know that the technologies are there, these really are institutional challenges. And I want to comment very briefly on a few of the things that we are seeing as mechanisms for that change, and I want to first note that in. A partnership that we've had this past year, with the international solar alliance which was established as a funding mechanism for developing countries. To do South South collaboration on technology in solar, in particular, India and France established an intergovernmental group and in our work with them.
We found that the world is currently developing solar in about 10 countries at the pace that you need to do to decarbonize based on using solar resources. And so Now the question is how do we bring those technologies that investment to the rest of the world. There are a number of mechanisms and approaches that are required, but one could look at both the public space and the private sector space as indicators of where we're going to go. And the public side, we are seeing large pension funds and institutions start to stand up additional investments into renewable energy. The Danish pension funds in particular California pension funds and many others are either committing to divest of fossil resources in their investments or to move forward with. A specific portfolio indication set asides or entirely changing their investment trajectories So those are very, very promising, however, we also see that state owned or sanctioned or state agencies.
are continuing to invest in coal and fossil fuel as Jennifer mentioned, so there is the need for national governments, not only to commit to what they're going to do. in their countries, but also what they will be doing in terms of global at overseas investment. china's belted road initiative is one of those that were watching very closely, because in our early analysis it has largely been dominated by fossil fuel and extractive industries which are not. helping us move in the right direction, one final point, and then i'll pass it over to Brian, we know that in the. Economic recovery plans for most countries around the world, the number of jobs that are associated with energy efficiency and renewable energy. vastly outstrip over time, the number of jobs that would be in a fossil fuel based economy, the data in the United States has been compelling and elsewhere as well.
But we have seen that most governments in their code response packages and stimulus programs have continued to reinforce existing infrastructure. Over new infrastructure, there are a number of programs in countries, and let me point to Vietnam is one that I think is going to be very important and to watch. They actually had a goal for solar and for renewable energy, build out and their utility found that through their.
Terrorist structure, they were able to get five times more renewables deployed in this past year than they had expected. that's a significant change of pace, so we know that there are efforts underway in many countries, we know that the investment. interest is there from the private sector and from institutional investors, and now we need to change business practices and policy. strategies and let me say that there is no one sector more poised to be able to deliver on sustainable development, improving people's lives than the building sector.
And the infrastructure in cities, our cities, our engines of growth and we're excited to see what they can contribute in terms of investment and changing practice so with that in my introduction, let me pass it over to Brian for his remarks, thank you. Thank you very much Jennifer and thank you Michigan for inviting me it's great to be involved. In a virtual Michigan event, my name is Brian sweat and, as mentioned, I am the city's leader and sustainable real estate leader for Arab and the Americans, we are design engineering and planning firm.
headquartered in London global in our operations around 15,000 people strong and I think i'll pick up the gauntlet from where Jennifer. ended it off on the the other issues that set the context for the challenge of decarbonisation that we're facing around the world. Because decarbonisation alone would be a significant problem, but it needs to happen in the context of.
Both dealing with some of those speed bumps between now and a fully decarbonize economy around the world by 2050. and addressing other major societal issues at the same time, and we have no choice but to address in a comprehensive manner. Those who are based in the US are seeing certainly that tone come out of the body administration that it's not. Climate change action and other stuff you know when we can get to it, it has to be integrated. So just to briefly touch on on six of the big themes that i'm focused on and as Jennifer mentioned. One of the big themes, is that we are dealing with decarbonizing our globe and decarbonizing our economy in a period of time in which.
humanity is the most urban it has ever been and we now have more than half of the people around the world living in some form of an urban context. Which is very different, it provides both opportunities and challenges in terms of how we transition our infrastructure, our way of life. To net zero carbon approach. The other variables that that i'm focused on and we read Eric or focus on candidates, we move in this direction which one is clearly addressing growing inequality and growing attention to. Racial justice attention to income inequality our solutions to decarbonizing the economy.
Around the world, and need to address not only country to country, inequality, but also the inequality that exists within most countries. In terms of environmental justice and vital impact, how we built out our energy infrastructure 75 to 100 years ago and making sure that we don't make the same mistakes and we address those issues in a way that embeds justice and all of our actions. aging infrastructure is another thing that we're looking at very specifically, you know as most folks know many countries around the world have under invested in their infrastructure for decades. There is a build to becoming do, regardless of the fact that we also need to decarbonize on our bridge infrastructure, I wrote infrastructure, our rail infrastructure, our grids. Usually, we pay less attention to anything that we can't see so a lot of these issues are underground and we wait for things to break, so our aging infrastructure is going to be a problem throughout the next three decades as we decarbonize our systems as well, increasing climate risk. At the top of this, and i've never seen a piece of science, that makes me less concerned about climate change, impacting our world, and the fact that the and we may have been under estimating sea level rise.
By that magnitude is absolutely terrifying you know, we know that significant portions of where humanity is located and where our infrastructure that supports our our way of life globally. Is within several feet of sea level rise several feet of high tide today. And so, increasing climate risk be at storm events be a drought spirit wildfires are decarbonisation of the economy in the world needs to happen in a context of being resilient to those environments that are going to be with us the embedded climate change that our emissions have already. Put into force. A fifth one is around, and I think Jennifer did a great job of capturing some of the hope and progress, but our fifth one is in my mind is really around the funding gap.
If you add up the amount of resources, we need to change our infrastructure and it's absolutely correct it and renewable energy, on a point to point. is economically competitive in many parts of the world with fossil fuel based infrastructure, but the funding gap is really about changing our entire supply through distributions and use network. And there's a massive funding gap between where we need to go and where historically we've been.
Most countries around the world have again, and you know under investing in infrastructure, going forward. And the ability to simply raise taxes and return to a you know post World War Two era public sector investment infrastructure. Very few politicians are holding out hope for that model, so we will need to develop new Public Private Partnership models and new ways of leveraging equity and a better kosher and aligning benefits and costs. A fifth major issue that we're looking at in a very detailed way is the digital transformation that we're all living through right now provides both opportunities and challenges.
Being a having grids that are truly smart and can in real time react about disruptions. As well as changes in supply and demand and had massive opportunities, making sure that our systems operate in a carbon efficient way, but as we've seen through numerous disruptions around the world and tying everything together also opens up ourselves to. To larger points of failure, and these can be just by happenstance or they can be man made in the sense of digital terrorism, but we need to be cognizant of tying things together in a digital way that it takes advantage of the opportunities, while mitigates the risks. Excuse me, and then, lastly, within this urgency of decarbonisation that all this is happening in terms of designing our economic systems and our infrastructure systems to support a net zero carbon future by mid century. We also have to be cognizant of how we transition and build out that infrastructure that gets us there because it's not solely about. The operating carbon efficiency of this equipment it's also about the embodied carbon of that infrastructure that we need to put in place and we will be investing massively.
Around the world, and new infrastructure and we need to make sure we're doing it in a carbon efficient way, and a low carbon way. And so, our material choices matter, in particular in the built environment on embodied carbon. needs to be much more of a factor in terms of both are heavy infrastructure in our buildings and we need to think through you know the long term effect and really take a life cycle carbon approach. To how we build out a fully decarbonize infrastructure, which is a great segue to Professor lead so i'd love to turn it over to Victor he's doing some excellent work on exactly that topic on.
On the opportunities we have in the technologies, we have before us as we build out this environment in a low carbon way. All right, i'll Thank you so much, thank you to the to jennifer's and Brian for laying out the background of I love I. am delighted to be here to share some thoughts that you and also share some very exciting technologies, we are developing at university of Michigan and let me see if I can bring up my slides. there's a couple of slides let's see. Okay, are you able to see my slides now.
Okay, all right. Okay, so as a civil engineer, we are always very proud to. Make the claim of building civilization, we are responsible for buildings highway systems water dams and so on. So. The. The challenge, however, the negative side of this thinking is that the civil.
Building environment is also responsible for a lot of the carbon emissions, so you can take a look at this map here. These are big cities maker cities with populations over a million people, and there are 33 of them currently and more coming along the way, six more by the year 2030. Every one of these big cities are going to require I have required huge amount of infrastructures. what's the proper amount of infrastructure so according to the United Nations are construction and buildings accounts for 40% of global carbon. Emissions get a lot of it is coming from concrete, which is one of the most popular materials for construction applications, so, if you look at this chart here concrete is occupies more than 80% of all materials that we use is second only to water.
And it's not surprising therefore that we see headlines like this concrete skipping us into the climate catch trophy. So it's payback time this is in the guardians and the question is, what can we do what what needs to be done to be compromised that built environment, so let me see if I can okay here so here's a new kind of concrete we developed in our laboratory at the University of Michigan. And the material can tick carbon from the industrial waste streams, including flew guess and create carbon mineralization into this material permanently sequestering the ashes cotton. turning this into a very durable construction material that allowed us back in infrastructure, essentially, creating a closed.
loop on a circular pathway for carbon instead of looking at Calvin as a big pollutant we look at it as a resource, in other words Okay, so the specific technology we have developed actually have two parts one is applies to pre cost products. and gather applies to costume plays construction, so the pre concert products, we can now go up to about 10% by way of carbon sequestration. And the chasm face about 5% So these are huge amount if fully scaled we're talking about digger tons of carbon sequester in construction materials and for readability environment around the world So where are we now this technology actually has gone out into the real world so. These infrastructures that I that you see in front of you, they are already built some of these are new construction, others are repair and ritual fits. This uses a version that has not have the carbon sequestration, but it's very durable, in the sense that it is enjoyable under extreme lows In fact this building is in Tokyo area and for those of you who are in Asia, you recognize this Tokyo tower in the background.
So a lot of these constructions are now utilizing the extreme activity and durability of this material that is excellent in mamo concrete material. So our plan is to pilot the conference sequestered version of pentacle concrete on ECC in the coming year and, hopefully, introduce that to the market in the next few years to help in decarbonizing the built environment and tackle the climate challenge as we move along. So i'll be happy to answer any questions that does that need move back to the panel Jennifer source. Thank you so much, Victor and Jennifer and Brian for wonderful introductory comments and for all of you Michigan engineering alone out there, I hope you enjoyed the picture of the north campus and victor's last slide. One of the things that we were have been talking about is the incredible urgency of this transition, and I would be like to start this conversation by asking each of you.
What are some ways to accelerate the transition that you see are needed, especially in the policy space um what are things that the government's can do, whether it's government, whether it's building codes what what do we need to. move more quickly as quickly as we need to this new low carbon economy and Jennifer maybe i'll start with you. Great question well, there are a couple things that are specifically important for government, first of all I mentioned already, the stimulus or dollars associated with the economic recovery. To date, in G 20 countries they spent 212 billion dollars on fossil fuels in their recovery and the clean energy received 239 billion, so we clearly need to rebalance in terms of our public spending. The second thing is really government as a force of change in the United States, for example, the use of Energy Performance Contracting allowed for a rapid deployment of both work and jobs into energy efficiency in the last economic. recession in the United States and investment to move there, so the government can use it pull for factor, the private sector does as well i've worked with companies around the world through the renewable energy buyers alliance.
To actually set procurement standards and work in their supply chains. to request renewable energy projects as part of their business practice so you can do that with cement California, is looking at that there are a number of different initiatives. it's really important to us, both the investment dollars and where you place those dollars and the pole factor of opportunities to procure a purchase these products right.
Victor you went away sure yeah So the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that the construction industry is a relatively conservative industry as far as technology is concerned, so. left by is all on a song is going to take a long time now the conservative message really there are good reasons behind that, but the fact of the matter is that that's most on innovation adoption okay so policy really is important, the technology is not enough. So I see as Jennifer mentioned in some cities like Marion county in California, and I believe New York is also adopting this low carbon concrete.
requirements to build in this in those countries. And those are very helpful I also understand some people would say the federal government is perhaps the biggest purchaser of concrete and responsible for our highway systems which uses. A lot of concrete materials, so there are opportunities like that to drive technology into the marketplace into adoption.
So that's Marion county in New York City, I would encourage all of you. joining this from around the world to do what you can to encourage your own governments to. improve these standards, Brian i'd love to hear from you on this agree with my colleagues and a couple of things, one I think you've heard a bit about governance, I think. There are very few countries around the world, as well as sort of Sub national governments that are set up. To most optimally get us to decarbonize economy and 2015, so I think one area of work, in particular for universities, is to think through what are the governance structures. that enable us to prioritize carbon as a metric of success in every decision we make.
And you know you're seeing the messaging coming out of the Biden administration now and i'm based out of Boston. That you know carbon needs to be a decision making factor for every government agency every decision they're making going forward you're going to have a chance at the success. and not be compartmentalize and an Environment Agency, you know at the city state local federal provincial levels, this has to be a whole government move.
It The other thing i'd add is now and i'm i'm a massive fan of technology and innovation and policies that move the vanguard and what's possible. And I was one of the founders of the carbon neutral Cities Alliance, which was the Group of the vanguard cities around the world that have commitments real commitments. By 25th year earlier to be carbon neutral, that is absolutely important but that will not get us there right, I think we need to be honest with ourselves that we are. woefully under the pace we need to decarbonize the world, and what that means, to me, is, we need to start regulating the bottom bar. Of the different systems that we have in the country and in the world and saying by some date certain.
Be current carbon intensive technology will no longer be permitted to be used. So you're seeing that happen, a bit in Europe about commitments to saying every car will be electric or carbon free by a certain date search by date certain in France. I think we need the same thing in the US on oil based heating.
We need to put a marker out there and it doesn't need to be tomorrow, but you know if we were saying by 2030, we will not be having. We will not replace oil furnaces with oil furnaces we need air to heat pumps. There are technologies that exists and it's our own sort of human inertia and the inertia of our business systems that are preventing us from the rapid pace of adoption. And so carrots, you know the carrot carrot and stick model carrots will not get us there right we're going to have to move some sticks and we're going to have to do that more expeditiously that I think people realize to change our economies fast enough. And that doesn't mean to be clear, it doesn't mean it will cost folks more, we are currently making is Jennifer and her lead in market remarks noted, we are currently making economically irrational decisions today.
Because they're just easier decisions to deal with in our existing supply and implementation marketplace, but they're still economically irrational. Thank you i'm also I went to encourage back and forth amongst the panelists so if any of you wish to comment on each other's remarks, please just raise your hand and i'll call on you, but while you're thinking about that and Jennifer go ahead. Well, I just wanted to mention Brian I thought your comment there about the need for subnational.
Governance and recognize the role that different levels of government play you know, not in the electricity sector, this is a huge disconnect right, I mean you have national governments or state governments that generally plan for. Investment and approve the the types of construction of new resources or infrastructure. And yet, cities are the ones, as you mentioned that are often on the vanguard of looking out for their citizens, in terms of the concerns they may have about. about what climate change may do to cities and heat and the need for infrastructure investments in their economies. But they don't have a role, often in the electricity governance so we're seeing a lot of this disconnect happening between cities and the energy sector at in ways that are going to be potentially create more conflict and less alignment. Then we would hope to see, otherwise I mean you seen in in South Africa Capetown and trying to figure out how it's going to manage in the context of.
eskom its utility which is not moving where the Cape Town wants it to be moving as quickly. You seen that the United States as well in Colorado so you know, we know that these tensions exist and they're only going to get worse rather than faster could tie us up in court, rather than allow these types of new innovations to occur in a way that aligns the investment. Good Brian yeah i'd agree with that completely and we can't be there just to pick up on your last sentence they're winding up in court. We cannot worry about being sued to get there, right now, and I think and folks in the US certainly heard chuck schumer calling for it, you know we are, we are in today, a national climate emergency. You know, we need to declare it as such in all countries around the world to give us the tools necessary to reset our economy, because if the choices between.
Current shareholder equity in setting up the right corporate structures and quasi government agencies that can get there. We need to solve this crisis solving this crisis is a necessity, and we will deal with the financial implications of making folks whole. That may have been misled into making bad investments are operating under old regimes that cannot prevent us from making the change we need to to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. So a couple of you talked about. Private sector issues and finance the Jennifer You said the finance the investment interest was their brand new talked about the under investment i'm Victor you talked about the conservatism in the building sector. What are some specific things that would help move those dollars more quickly to where they need to be spent.
So I can stop that so we already mentioned that policies is very helpful technology by itself is not enough, but I agree that the private sector, there is a lot to do, both on the supply side and the demand side technologies innovations and i'm referring to. The whole value chain of construction, all the way from finance to developers with bill to owners users, as well as the ABC company. The architecture engineering community, so this is this.
Is the whole value chain or construction is very complicated and often fragmented and this is a major challenge, how do we actually equalize the build a model that requires all these. Moving parts to work together on that to me, is one of the major challenge a software problem. Creating alignment between these various entities were all common and sometimes miss match interests.
After we do that if we can solve that problem, I believe that this kind of technology to be compromised field environment remember Earlier I mentioned about 40% comes from the built environment carbon emissions, if you can only take away half of that that's a big chunk. So there's no time to lose, we have to move were very urgent forward utilizing all talents from the different entities sectors that are involved in the building model great. I think I just I think one of the challenges and opportunities with the built environment, in particular, some of the heavy infrastructure we've been talking about.
Is that that the decisions we make today will be with us in 2015 and towards the end of the century right in terms of our plans donations bridges, roads, most of the buildings that were building today longer than a third of your life so for me. The festivities monuments yeah very last for so long and actually has implications in terms of how. We build these infrastructures today with muscle durable time which we're going to be doing a lot of maintenance. and operational carbon becomes extremely important as something that we have to be worried so great i'll stay a little mention. That it's not enough to look at this thing and bottle of capital, but also the operation capital is, firstly, we need to Europe all at once, great brand new at something else to add, you know.
As sort of the how to victor's challenge, which to me is the we've been operating for most of the time around the world, with design based standards for built environment not performance based standards. And so we need to rapidly move to a carbon performance standard and one of the aspects about. The new administration Washington I mentioned is a bunch but that's my my frame of reference and there's some countries around the world that are ahead of us in this. is developing a carbon performance standard for both new and existing buildings and that's embedded in the Biden Harris plan we.
I am sure we will not be successful if we don't even define what success looks like right and if carbon performance of our built environment is an element of success. It needs to be explosive and it doesn't necessarily mean from day one, but it means addressing the issues that Victor mentioned of both performance and embodied. And it means that every piece of infrastructure and building that we're building today should have a pathway a concrete defined pathway to carbon neutrality. Otherwise it's a step backwards right it's more carbon we're going to have to sequester down the line and and that's not in a position, we want to be in global.
Great great so along the way we've been answering some of the questions that have been coming in from Members the audience but i'd like to turn into a few specific ones or categories of questions that we've been getting. One of one of the themes across several of the questions is the disparities between developed and developing countries and Brian you were talking about the need for equity at the individual level within a country, as well as across countries but. The can folks a little bit more about how to address the equity of development well addressing climate change.
is I think i'm i'm happy to start on that one and buy some time from my colleagues, is it. there's a suite of solutions and they're they're very different approaches, so one is. Certainly we're learning more and actually university Michigan is doing some great research on this as an ag school on the importance of our natural environments in sequestering carbon. And the economic value of carbon sinks around the world continues to be something that we've done a really poor job of monetizing. So, whether or not it's you know our peak for us in Southeast Asia, whether or not it's a rain forest in the Amazon or our. temperate rainforest and northern Russia and Canada, these are places that literally, are you know carbon sinks in sort of the lungs of the planet.
That economically, it makes a lot of sense to protect now and to make those transfer payments to not lose that. Rather than try to sequester that carbon through some technological means, and so there will be significant transfer payments and there's been a reluctance globally, that you mentioned. In terms of the equity of countries making commitments you know and taking steps forward, where we need to actually create a global robust. You know performance based carbon market that investments in the natural environment can be part of that solution. In addition to the appropriate technology transfers, so that, when we were building out the energy infrastructure in the developing world. it's done day one from a carbon neutral perspective and the technologies exist, I mean, as was mentioned, we can do that, but the economic and equity of making that first investment needs to be addressed you know from those countries that are better off right.
that's just such an excellent point I think the the the amount of carbon that is stored in these land uses in the forests, the peat um. it's going to be so much harder to recapture that planting trees than it is to keep it where it is but. we're losing the p losing the reinforce because of the need for economic development, because it's not actually monetize because they want the soil, they want the palm oil so it's a huge challenge and I will also add to the point that. The the trail of urbanization oftentimes happens in developing countries so that's an opportunity to utilize new technology to decarbonize to build Mr new directory use the built environment as a way to sequester carbon black lot a day from Paul. And I wonder Jennifer you were talking about how many more jobs come through a renewable energy economy yeah I mean one of the things that we've got to recognize is that there are.
Real needs for investment, I look at my colleagues in Africa, where the demographics are that most of the population is under 20 you are looking at an entire generation. of people who need to have employment opportunities, so the investment is not just in terms of how do we ensure that we are. That we are getting a the infrastructure is also that we're creating sustainable livelihoods and and an economic pathway. For the world's people now it is critical that we recognize the need for an equitable just transition right, I mean you can't have. Over you know hundreds of millions of co workers in China or India or the United States, although we don't have very many left in the United States. Without a job, so the question that we also have to grapple with in this transition is the equity is not just between countries it's within our own communities it's within our own countries and managing for the social.
Economic and political implications of a different economic order, and so we can have our each of our institutions, whether you're in a developing country context or in the OECD, you have to recognize that these are the. brunt of the shift is not born equitably, and that some people are in better positions to manage. Either the economic change or frankly the climate change right we've seen what happened in the code crisis around equity.
And the fact that many people who were on the margins are have fallen back into poverty as a result of the fact that we have not navigated or managed the growing inequity. 600 million people still do not have access to electricity around the world, those are even more exacerbated when you're talking about a climate. impacts over time and we have the opportunity now to look at these issues of equity between countries and making sure we have the right climate finance agenda and within countries to make sure that we're managing for those who have. wealth and those who are still struggling and can we offer the opportunities that they need to contribute to a low carbon future.
Thank you that's great all of you. here's another question um. Do you think it would be a good thing and advantage if there were agreement globally on a common price on carbon i'm coming price for the emission of missions of carbon and, if so, any ideas, how to get there.
This is a typical one I i'm just gonna i'm just going to say that I think there are. A price on carbon is an essential component of what it will take, we have to internalize those externalities, we have to recognize the need for a carbon price, however. As a pragmatist, and as somebody who really is focused on what do we do in these next five years to get us on the right path. Waiting for a carbon price is not my primary focus i'm really, really would encourage everyone to think today about what it does what it takes to get to get on that trajectory currently. We know that it's going to be a combination of carbon pricing and sectoral strategies and interventions you manage for the built environment with a specific set of opportunities that you can take today to change that sector carbon price may help us but it's not the only mechanism. i'm in jennifer's camp that it's been.
A carbon impacts of our of our built environment, energy, decisions as an externality for so long that the play around to try to adjust that by adding a price to it. You know, in a in a global world or energy pricing is anything but you know economically just or fair or tinkered with right, it is not a free market. we'd be at this, for decades, trying to figure out what the price is to drive the change and we've seen how long it took erupts in a trading scheme to actually have a price that.
That resulted in change as opposed to just transfer the dollars that we don't have the time. Right, I mean we need a performance standard in a regulatory regime that gets us there we have three decades to bend the curve or to completely get to net zero. And, and we have one decade, maybe to bend the curve in a significant way to get us on that pathway and there isn't an example of a pricing scheme globally that's done that type of trance transformational. impact, so I would not, I agree with it from a philosophical standpoint that'd be nice if we could do that, but I think the time has long past to to actually have that be the uber of the change we need. yeah it's the most it's you know, putting on the Economist chat it's the most efficient way to. incentivize carbon reductions, if you really had the price there, but you mentioned the EU they have their emissions trading seem appropriate price in place and they're devoting enormous energy to how to make.
How to make it fair for their industry when they're dealing with imports from countries that do not have a carbon price so that's an issue. With your job, like one quick comment, I do think there's very quick yeah there's opportunity at the local level, I am a big fan of building trading schemes so they were investing in carbon reduction in affordable housing. You know in buildings that don't have resources that the you know, a municipal trading scheme in the built environment I think makes a lot of sense to generate a. lot of good market based instruments out there that are being deployed in various places we are almost out of time we got a question from the audience that I think is sort of a perfect wrap up you each have.
Less than a minute to speak very quickly, but i'll post, the question and you can either answer it or give any other last thought, which is climate change is it a political question a science tech question and economics question or social question. and Steve is ready to take us out so maybe you just have. A political political question okay one word answers I would say is all of. Those four words okay.
i'd say it's political and social great great Steve back to you thanks everybody so much. Well, thank you Jennifer and and and I I would have answered your question by saying yes. I, like, I think I agree with Victor wow what an incredible presentation clearly a lot of expertise. From the panel we We thank you very much for sharing that with us i'm sorry we didn't get to all the questions there was.
I was looking at the questions that came in and I know you addressed at least in part, most of them, but there were some that we couldn't get to and that's a shame, but. We could spend a whole you know, a whole pan Asia reunion in person, where we're together for two or three days talking just about this issue, because it is so important for us and, and I would say, at the same time. You frightened me greatly today, and you gave me some hope that there are answers that will. That will help us get through this if we'll just be wise and and listen and think and and make the right decision, so we need more people like you out there, telling the story, thank you very much for that we really appreciate it. I also really want to thank our participants all of the alumni from around the world who have been on the call today.
We We appreciate you, you have an opportunity to influence this arena in your own backyards if you will. But, but you do that for the University of Michigan all the time anytime and I thank you for being great ambassadors for our University in the in the cities and towns in which you live and and how you represent us every day, thank you for that. I look forward to seeing you again, in fact, I hope that you'll join us at the next virtual pan Asia event which is going to be on. and Go check these. A.
Little great with you for that that session as well, thank you all for joining us today, this will conclude the program there's nothing better to say at this moment, then. I hate to say go green, although from our standpoint of our session today I do want us to be more green but, more importantly, go blue.