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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Bank of America pledges £1.2 million to Oxford for greenhouse gas removal

Cecilia Catmur reports.

Oxford University is due to receive £1.2 million from the Bank of America to fund research into greenhouse gas removal and sustainable finance. This project to tackle climate change and improve sustainability within financial services will be carried out at the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment.

The research will cover two key areas and will be split across two sites. The first will identify methods of taking greenhouse gases out of the air in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable manner. It will be based at the Greenhouse Gas Removal Hub (CO₂RE). Dr Stephen Smith will direct this project.

The second group will be led by Dr Ben Caldecott and will investigate using environmental data about the climate and nature-related factors in financial decision-making. This will be based at the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group and the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment (CGFI).

The funding will support three years of research into these two critical areas, as well as contribute funding to a Director’s Research fund. This will allow the School to undertake other sustainable research opportunities.
This partnership is pivotal, according to Bernard Mensah, president of International at Bank of America. “Successful partnerships between business, academia and governments are critical if we are to accelerate the transition to sustainable, secure and affordable energy and bring forwards the path to net zero,” he said. It is the first partnership of its kind for Bank of America in Europe.

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) and other climate change activists and organizations have also stressed the need for international cooperation and a global response to climate change. Chatham House wrote in its article commenting on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on 6 April 2022, “To deliver a world that restricts global warming to 1.5°C — an internationally agreed target — systemic change is needed.”

This collaboration between the University and the Bank of America is a move to a more international approach to tackling the climate crisis. Mensah said he feels it “has the potential to transform scalable carbon capture and greenhouse gas removal and also the integration of nature-based metrics into sustainable finance frameworks.”

These projects endeavour to make influential progress combatting climate change. The research is key to moving towards a more sustainable future and achieving the goals outlined by the IPCC and governments by 2030. The Bank of America itself published their commitment to environmental sustainability on their website, with a goal to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in support of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The results and data from the research will be used to inform financial services decision making. It seeks to inform more implementable, sustainable business models. Professor Cameron Hepburn, director of the Smith School, commented, “This project has a pressing need considering the current climate crisis. It hopes to make impressive and influential progress combatting climate change, to one of action.”

The Smith School is taking a key role in driving systematic change in combatting climate change. Previously they have worked with 20 separate governments worldwide in finding solutions to green recovery. Its research is influential, directly informing global financial institutions across the globe.

Image credit: Marcin Jozwiak

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