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Taoiseach stresses need for climate change revolution

Some of the world’s leading figures in sustainable finance were at the ‘Catalysing Global Savings to Advance our Sustainability Goals’ conference in Dublin on Sustainable Finance Day 2019 in May to hear Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stress the importance of Ireland’s financial institutions taking action against climate change during his opening address.

Mr Varadkar said tackling climate change was a revolution that would define the 21st century and be as seismic as the agricultural, industrial and digital revolutions.

“I believe we must align the financial world with the urgent goal of reducing greenhouse gases. We are striving to be a leader,” he said. “Climate change has raised the stakes for our planet but creates opportunities for wealth creation and new jobs, and I want us to be among the first to realise that.”

It is unusual for a head of government to attend a sustainable finance conference, but the importance the Irish government places on financial institutions helping to fund a transition to a sustainable future was highlighted by the fact that Mr Varadkar was joined at the conference by four of his cabinet ministers.

The conference, which was convened by the Department of Finance and Sustainable Nation Ireland, addressed how to unlock global capital to create investments that will pay for projects that are urgently needed to tackle climate change.

In a momentous development – described as “a game changer for Ireland” by the Irish Independent – the World Bank chose Sustainable Finance Day 2019 as an opportunity to list a $1.5 billion Sustainable Development Bond on the Irish Stock Exchange. This was the first World Bank Bond in Ireland in 25 years. The bond will finance sustainable development activities.

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