Climate crisis is both the challenge and the opportunity
Published: Apr 17, 2022 09:00 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

Years ago, while working in China for Goldman Sachs, I learned that the Chinese word for crisis is composed of two separate characters: one defines danger, and the other a turning point or an opportunity. We are all aware of the dangers of the climate crisis. Business and government leaders can no longer ignore the physical effects of climate change, global infrastructure, supply chains, food systems, asset prices, land and labor productivity, and economic growth itself are increasingly at risk due to a rapidly changing climate.

The focus with the Paulson Prize for Sustainability is to discover the turning points, the opportunities, and the scalable ideas that make our world stronger and more resilient with sustainable solutions as we transform to a low carbon economy. 

Everywhere I travel today, leaders of industry, leaders of investment firms, mayors of cities, leaders in government, or agricultural communities, are focused on creating energy transition solutions. They know that their respective growth strategies have to embrace a sustainable future. And they all want to emerge as a leader in the global decarbonization effort. They know that we are just beginning the largest economic transformation in history, a transformation that will change our sources of electricity as we seek solutions for affordable, reliable, and zero carbon energy. 

We will change how we make products of all types, including cement, or aluminum or steel or chemicals and other hard to abate sectors. We will change how we grow our food for a global population, approaching 10 billion people by the year 2050. We will change how we travel and not just electric cars, but sustainable aviation fuels for airplanes and hydrogen for heavy trucks and maritime ships. We will change how we stay warm and how we keep cool, and we will change how we adapt to a warmer world.

As Hank Paulson has commented, the climate crisis is both the challenge and the opportunity of our generation. Paulson Prize for Sustainability is all about the opportunity.

The Paulson Prize for Sustainability represents a unique opportunity for both public and private sector leaders in green innovation to receive both national and international recognition. Winners will join an esteemed group of past prize recipients who are taking best in class approaches to China's sustainability challenges. The Paulson Prize for Sustainability represents an important opportunity for a project to not only receive a prestigious award, but raise its profile with potential new partners, new investors, customers, and policy makers. We are at a pivotal time during the transition to a low carbon economy, where capital, technology and policy all must align to enable growth in green initiatives and industries at significant pace and scale.

The article was compiled based on a speech made by Tracy R. Wolstencroft, co-chair of the jury committee of the Paulson Prize for Sustainability, former president and CEO of the National Geographic Society, at the launch event of Paulson Prize for Sustainability 2022 on Friday.