Public Seminar - Using climate finance for transformational change

This will be held as a hybrid event in the Frank Fenner Seminar Room and online via zoom. If you choose to join via Zoom, please click 'register'.


About the seminar

Dr Ken Newcombe will introduce the work of his company to address the needs of the rural poor in the Least Developed Countries using climate finance as risk capital for transformational change.

He will focus on the evolution of the global carbon market as a market pioneer, and the research  on ways to improve the health and prosperity of women as agents of economic development in rural areas of developing countries, through research conducted by Duke University and C-Quest Capital.

About the speaker

Dr Ken Newcombe has over 45 years of experience in project design, management and policy in the energy, environment, and natural resource management sectors. Thirty years of this experience has been through working for developing country governments and development finance institutions, and the last 15 years in the private sector as an entrepreneur and business manager. He has undergraduate degrees in biological and physical sciences, a doctorate from the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National university on the energy, health and natural resource management nexus and business management training at Harvard Business School. Ken is the majority owner of C-Quest Capital.

Following an appointment as a Research Fellow in the ANU’s Centre for Resource and Environment Studies, Ken became the first Head of Energy Planning in Papua New Guinea, and later Chief Executive Officer of PNG Electricity Commission to manage its reform and restructuring in the late 70’s to early 80’s.  He joined the World Bank as an energy specialist in 1982, rising to Head the Investment Advisory Group for its energy investment in Africa before joining the design team for the Global Environment Facility in 1990. He became Chief, Global Environment Operations in 1991, serving as the World Bank’s chief investment officer for global environment operations including the GEF and Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol. In 1995, as Global Manager of New Product and Partnerships for the Bank, he conceived and managed the first global carbon fund, the Prototype Carbon Fund which had its first closing in April 2000 at $135 million from 6 Governments and 13 large global corporates that pioneered to global market for greenhouse gas emissions reductions and initiated eight more carbon funds with over a billion dollars under management within 5 years. In this period Ken launched the Forest Market Transformation Initiative which promoted a global forest carbon market, and led to the founding of Forest Trends, the leading forest conservation and markets NGO, and the Global Alliance between the World Bank and WWF which led to the creation of 50 million ha of new forest conservation areas  in the developing countries and 200 million ha of forests under third party certification as sustainable managed by 2004.

Ken joined the private sector in early 2006. He became Vice Chairman and Co-Head of Markets for Climate Change Capital in London and Managing Director for Goldman Sachs in New York before being recruited to launch C-Quest Capital as its CEO from 2009. Under Ken’s management, CQC has now become one of the largest developers of carbon credits world-wide with current investments to produce 500 million credits through 2029 and 1.4 billion credits through 2035. CQC’s investment partners include Shell, BP, Macquarie Bank and Temasek, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore.

CQC’s focus is on providing sustainable energy services to the rural poor focused on the Least Developed Countries and improving the health and prosperity of women and girls. Its largest business vertical is providing clean cooking solutions to rural households with average daily installations in peak seasons of 6000 improved stoves in 3000 households world-wide. CQC is no entering the urban household energy market as a supply of advanced biomass fuel and stove combinations. In January, its majority owned affiliate, Ener-G-Africa, will commission its all-women managed solar panel production facility in Cape Town and expand cookstove manufacture to capacity to produce 30,000 stoves sets per day.

CQC is a pioneer in results-based financing for improved health outcomes for women and infants associated with reduced households air pollution from cleaner cooking. Its methodologies for measuring averted Disability Adjusted Life Years and time savings from efficient cooking are leading edge. CQC’s main research partners is Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy

CQC is a pioneer of the global soil organic carbon market and in February 2022 will launch commercial operations of Essential Soils in Australia in partnership with Regenerative Agriculture Farmers of Australia targeting regenerative agriculture on 200,000 ha as a first phase.