Wednesday 8 September 2010

UK Govt Capital Markets forum tackles need for trillions of climate investment

The UK Government yesterday held an investor and financier forum to launch it's new Capital Markets Climate Initiative to unlock new investment in low-carbon technologies - as well as make London a global hub for green finance. There was a special emphasis on financing climate change mitigation activities in developing nations.
The invitation-only event, hosted by Minister for Climate Change Greg Barker, involved a day of round-table discussions for some 50 people representing various national governments, major asset owners from around the EU, banks, ratings agencies and other bodies, as well as a small group of issue experts. Six Climate Bonds Advisory Panel members were among the forum participants, including yours truly.
Three UK Government Ministers attended, two for the whole day (including the Treasury Economic Secretary), an indication of the importance given to the initiative.
The UK Government is expected to publish a report of the forum, but we can tell you that:
- There was general agreement about the huge scale of investment flows required to avoid the high risks of dangerous levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Discussion focused on policies and approaches that would deliver the necessary risk-adjusted returns to attract private capital. That included issues such as supporting liquidity in markets for green equity and green debt, options for reducing political risk (real or perceived) for investors, and the urgent need to remove perverse fossil fuel subsidies that undercut the profitability of clean energy investments.
- The UK Government was urged to continue to facilitate an international dialogue between governments and investors so as to further develop concrete proposals that will deliver the climate change mitigation investment the world needs.
UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne wrapped up the forum by saying the world "... faces the most exciting, enormous challenge in mobilizing capital than any generation has faced in decades. (Globally) we are looking at a third industrial revolution."

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