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UCD Business joins EU project to inform net-zero and COVID-19 economic recovery

  • Date: Tue, Aug 4, 2020

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Icebreaker One, an independent, global non-profit, is today announcing the launch of the first phase of Project Cygnus, a major new initiative to support regions and countries in their economic recovery from COVID-19 while accelerating their net-zero carbon emission goals.

"Post-pandemic shock, it is important to approach economic rebuilding through a clean green rather than a red polluting lens to set up the best possible political and economic climate to hit net-zero 2050 targets,” said Professor Andreas G. F. Hoepner, Chair in Operational Risk, Banking & Finance and Vice President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at UCD College of Business.

Project Cygnus has been selected to receive funding as part of the Pandemic Response Projects, one of the two instruments of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Crisis Response Initiative which is a €60 million initiative launched in May 2020 to contribute to the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Through Project Cygnus, we will be able to assess the pandemic's economic impacts across green, red and white industries and lay the foundations for recommendations on how green recovery can be fostered by policymakers and financiers,” continued Hoepner. “University College Dublin is proud to collaborate on such a ground-breaking project that will pave the way for a successful transition to net-zero."

Icebreaker One brings together researchers from University College Dublin (UCD), Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence - University of Edinburgh and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to deliver an ambitious programme focused on unlocking the data needed to deliver a net-zero future.

Set to be delivered in 2020, the first phase of the initiative will deploy €1M in EIT Climate-KIC funding to analyse current economic and environmental investment trends. This will include those caused by the current pandemic, as well as those pre-dating COVID-19 but which might have been exacerbated by it. Phase two will build on the foundations of the first phase by providing investors, policy makers and decision-makers with practical tools to address the challenges of achieving economic recovery while also transitioning to net-zero.

The aim is to develop strategies for investment and policymaking that will address fragility and opportunities in the current systems that have been exposed by the pandemic.   

It will identify potential investment risks, and opportunities to drive both carbon neutrality and economic growth. It will also unpack how to unlock access to data flows that can fuel informed future investment and policy decisions in a timely, robust and scalable manner.

"UNEP is excited to collaborate with IB1 in this joint initiative to build resilience and tackle the climate risks that are shaking our societies, ecosystems, and economies,” said Albert Martinez Sequero, Climate Security Analyst, United Nations Environment Programme.

“We must democratise climate data and insights to improve climate risk management and support decision-making in the private and public sectors, which will help us advance towards a net zero economy. More importantly, it will enhance our livelihoods today without compromising our future."

Icebreaker One is actively calling on organisations, leaders and investors from across the public and private sectors to participate in the project. A webinar, Introducing Project Cygnus: Addressing the data infrastructure to inform net-zero economic recovery from Covid-19, will be held for those looking to get involved on 13 August 2020 at 11am. It is free to join. More information is available on Icebreaker One's website

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