Climate Finance’s Biggest Challenges: Q&A With First Abu Dhabi’s EVP And Chief Sustainability Officer Shargiil Bashir
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Shargiil Bashir sat down with Global Finance on the sidelines of COP28 to discuss which economic sectors need to transition to green energy.
Global Finance: What are the biggest challenges for climate finance?
Shargiil Bashir: When we speak about climate finance, it’s important that it happens in a partnership between the public and the private sector, where the commercial banks can support but also where you have the development banks coming in, where you are seeing commitments coming from the governments’ side. We need policymakers to be supportive. And I think that what we are seeing now is all these different stakeholders coming together, working in that direction.
GF: What are the specific sectors you want to invest in?
SB: We are seeing transition happening in every single sector, whether this is oil and gas, aviation, power, agriculture. Every single sector needs to transition. For us, all clients needs the support to transition. We will not achieve net zero by 2050 by only one sector transitioning or one country transitioning. We need a global focus. We need all the industries to focus on the transition and we are here to support all the different industries transitioning to net zero by 2050.
GF: Some banks have stopped financing new fossil fuel projects what is your take on that?
SB: So for us, what is extremely important, and we need to be realistic about that: We cannot unplug the energy setup we have today. We need energy between now in the future and for all the coming generations. So we need to find the sustainable solutions that can take us to that point. That includes investments in renewable energy, new technologies like hydrogen and so on. And that is where FAB want to be in support.
But we also need to make sure that our existing customers are doing the transitions. So when we look at some of our largest clients, even within fossil fuel, they have made their transition plans ready. They are working on the future energy mix as well, renewable energy is an important impact of that. For us as financial institutions, it is important to finance that transition because not only does the companies, but the world needs as much energy as possible. We have seen in the past couple of years the energy shocks the world has felt. So that’s important that we have a sustainable and secure energy transition, and that is what we are supporting as First Abu Dhabi Bank.