Is market capitalism the problem or the solution? That is the huge question posed by the global project, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero plan, launched by Mark Carney and Michael Bloomberg to marshal private sector funds to finance the shift to a carbon-neutral world economy.
There can be no easy answer. The headline number, a total investment of $130tn, is so massive that it becomes almost meaningless. To put it in perspective, that is larger than the present value of all companies on all stock exchanges around the world, of around $120tn, or annual global GDP of some $95tn. It is also, to my mind at least, rather opaque. It is hard to unpack the amounts, the time scale and the allocation of the funds.
So what should we think? As of now the hopes have been rising that some sort of global carbon deal is in the offing. But while international agreements are certainly of profound importance, what matters even more is the interplay between technology and investment. To what extent can investment in new technologies overcome political inertia?
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