Originally published on CleanTechnica
Now more than ever before, business leaders across many industries are calling for national governments to implement policies such as a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade program that would reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere. Increasingly, global businesses, across a wide array of sectors, have invested in renewable power, clean technologies and energy efficiency in order to reduce costs and inefficiencies while acknowledging that such programs have a positive impact on environmental and social sustainability.
Unfortunately, no matter how solid these calls may be, they are not loud enough, nor do they reach far enough. And the people of our world do not have the luxury of time, as they once may have had.
If we seek results in how we might best transition to a sustainable economy by 2030, as asked for in the Masdar 2016 Engage Blogging Contest, we first need to be calling on entrepreneurs. These companies and people will achieve a variety of eye-opening solutions which not only take on the challenges of climate change, but also make economic sense. Best of all, provide these private sector entrepreneurs with non-bureaucratic connections to the public sector, including financing options and loosened regulatory restraints to test the viability of solutions.
This entrepreneurial approach assumes there is no one perfect solution to this enormously complex challenge of building a pathway to our low-carbon economy — there are many solutions which should be researched, developed, and tested.
Introducing The Public/Private Partners Laboratory
The Public/Private Partners program is a dynamic way to encourage private companies to join forces with governments to develop sustainable solutions.
A global governmental policy that encourages public-private partnership requires a structure. This is something the United Nations might be able to implement with funding from participating governments. Such an undertaking might be realistically achieved following the2015 Paris climate change conference.
A responsible funding platform, enabling the private sector to develop the goods and services necessary for a global transition to a low-carbon economy by 2030, can be managed by an international financial entity such as the World Bank.
This public/private program provides an open laboratory for the research and development of potential smart-business, climate change solutions leading to a low-carbon economy.
Public/Private categories include:
- Renewable energy infrastructure — Targeting the expansion of renewable energy products, jobs, and distribution
- Renewable electricity storage systems — Targeting affordable technologies for storing excess renewable electricity for non-wind and non-sunshine times
- Educational footprints — Involving students worldwide in understanding the scope of this undertaking, as they represent the next generation to steer meaningful change
- Carbon reclamation solutions — Focusing on affordable systems and technologies to safely control, store, or reuse carbon emissions
Finally, select proven entrepreneurial innovators in the areas renewable energy, storage, and sustainability to develop a realistic administrative platform that welcomes all possible solutions, while allowing governments to be repaid over time on profits from investments they have made.
Determining how business can cooperate with government on addressing climate change and help society transition to a low-carbon economy within the next 15 years is a daunting endeavor, filled with potential hurdles and roadblocks.
By providing a minimally bureaucratic infrastructure, many programs, platforms, and technologies can be cultivated to foster innovation and encourage more research and development, which, in the long run, can help solve future risks posed by climate change.
Keep in mind this is an extraordinary, time-intensive proposal, requiring the best in forward motion.