Lini Wollenberg, an expert on climate change and agriculture, is one of four UVM scholars in Paris for COP21. She reports on new innovations in green finance and entrepreneurship that seek to reduce agricultural GHG emissions.

Early highlight

Global Landscape Forum, a COP21 side event focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation related to land use, was truly inspiring. About 3,000 people attended, including such speakers as California Governor Jerry BrownJuliana Santiago of the Brazilian Development Bank’s Amazon Fund, and Abdon Nababan of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN).

Green finance

My favorite panel was on new green finance organizations that are organizing investment in low emissions and sustainable agriculture and forestry in the developing world. The session showcased dynamic organizations and innovative models to attract private investors by reducing the risk of the funds by using public money for technical assistance and as a buffer.

These investment vehicles are important for several reasons. First, they support serious sustainability standards, such as Brazil’s best management practices for cattle or the Sustainable Agriculture Network certification. Second, even with all the pledges being made by government right now, we know current public investment will be insufficient to achieve the changes we need. Yet organizing private investment, especially in the developing world, has been challenging.

Climate entrepreneurs

Some powerful examples of green finance and entrepreneurship that I saw included FundGlobal Canopy Programme, European Investment Bank’s Natural Capital Financing Facility and Althelia, which works with cattle ranchers in the Novo Campo project in Mato Grosso, Brazil.  

The goal is to leverage private funds, so even if progress is slow on the proposed Green Climate Fund, this kind of innovation is very much needed. People have been talking about it for some time, so it is exciting to see these programs coming into their own.

Lini Wollenberg is a research associate professor in UVM's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, a fellow at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, and leader of Low Emissions Agriculture research for the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

Read Wollenberg’s recent COP21 Q&A and her analysis of agriculture’s contributions to national GHG emissions.



Basil D.N. Waugh
Lini Wollenberg at COP21 in Paris with colleague Catherine Mungai of CCAFS' East Africa Office.