Speaking at a McKinsey hosted seminar, Shargiil Bashir, Chief Sustainability Officer at First Abu Dhabi Bank, said with the Middle East and Africa grappling with rising temperatures, they are having to step up their clean energy strategies to combat climate change threats.

“Countries like Kenya and Egypt are turning more to green hydrogen for their future needs,” he said. “The energy picture is changing, and in five years’ time, the share of hydrogen will be much bigger than it is today – and that requires lots of investment and collaboration.”

Dan Stephens, Senior Partner at McKinsey, said the world needs $9trn a year in land use and energy systems, around $3.5trn more than today.

“We’re entering a second phase of climate financing – one that’s a lot more varied, and challenging,” he said.

“And a lot of money will be going to places in the rest of this decade it hasn’t been before – like decarbonising heavy industry, and emerging technologies like hydrogen,” he said. “We still need multiples of capital we’re getting. The vast majority of greenhouse gas growth is coming from developing economies, and they’re going to need capital to address that and resiliency purposes, and we haven’t seen that happen yet.”

Measurements and reporting standards will have to be developed on the go, he added. “The good news is we’re seeing early progress, and lots of discussion around these issues, and there’s a huge opportunity ahead of us.”

Seb Henbest, Global Head of Climate Transition at HSBC, said the challenge is it has to make money and reduce emissions “and these things aren’t mutually exclusive”.

“One option is to reallocate capital and exit clients that have emissions that are capital intensive, or use the capital we’ve got to finance the transition,” he said. “The former makes us look good, changes our balance sheet, but doesn’t really do anything much in the real world – and the latter has the potential to, and we’re hoping it will drive meaningful change.”

As a global corporation, he said HSBC faces emissions in every sector and making calculations are challenging. “We are making progress, and have announced baseline emission intensity targets – for oil and gas, it’s 34% in absolute terms by 2030. Seven more are coming across heavy industry and transport early next year. Once we have the targets we then have to apply them.”

He said the corporation is being ‘rewired’, reconciling front and back office objectives regarding capital allocation and risk appetite.

“So many times, the front office lands a renewable energy deal which has been cut by the back, because the return wasn’t right – and there are all these rules. We have to align, but if we just do one bit, we’re going to fail.”

He said Western Europe and North America are on great trajectories and not the places where the climate battle will be won or lost.

“Where we’re really going to have a battle on our hands is in developing Asia, and here in the Middle East,” he said.