27 May 2016

After Paris

The Paris Climate Agreement was hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough – but what will count is how it's implemented. At IFB 2016 Zoe Knight, Head of HSBC's Climate Change Centre of Excellence, will set out the likely reaction of businesses and other stakeholders.

International Festival for Business 2016

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After the euphoria comes the hard graft. Heads of state were understandably delighted to strike their Paris deal on responding to climate change, ratified in April. Now governments, businesses and investors have to make it happen.

Each of these stakeholders will be affected by the physical consequences of change and the regulation to combat it - as well as being pushed to show how they are helping to solve the problem.

How they respond will determine the speed and scale of implementation, according to Zoe Knight, Head of HSBC's Climate Change Centre of Excellence.

"Paris is undoubtedly a large step forward for the collective challenge of limiting temperature rises, but a lot can go wrong if countries don't demonstrate they are progressing on doing what they said they would," Knight says.

"Much of the implementation of the deal is built on trust - trust that enabling environments will be created to reduce greenhouse gasses in line with their aims, and trust that financial support will be on tap to respond to climate related extreme events if necessary."

Paris is undoubtedly a large step forward for the collective challenge of limiting temperature rises

Zoe Knight, Head of HSBC's Climate Change Centre of Excellence.

At the launch event of the energy week which forms part of the International Festival for Business 2016, Knight will offer insight on the responsibilities of each stakeholder group in implementing the deal, and their likely responses.

While the public sector has a clear leadership and policy role, corporates will provide the "mechanics" to deliver the deal, Knight believes. They need to start by assessing their own exposure, including the effects of future demand for high-carbon goods and services as well as the physical impact of climate change.

Since finance is "the glue that holds the deal together", investors need to signal that capital allocation helps rather than hinders a low-carbon transition, she adds.

All stakeholders will come under pressure to be transparent, Knight argues. She predicts there will be "more impetus for disclosing climate risks and opportunities across the economy as a whole and for transparency around investment flows".

The energy week launch event, hosted by UKTI, takes place on Monday June 20. Knight will take part alongside speakers from Chatham House, Shell, BP, DONG Energy and other international players.

For further information about trading internationally, visit the HSBC Connections Lounge at the International Festival of Business in Liverpool where an HSBC Trade Specialist will be on hand to answer your questions or call +44 (0)800 78 31 300.

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