In a remarkably short period of time – the past year, especially – perceptions of climate-related finance have shifted profoundly. This reorientation is by no means complete; we are yet to reach the trillion dollar investment target set by the IEA. But COP21, creation of the FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure, and China and the UK’s co-convening of the G20 Green Finance Study Group each marked a breakthrough in the sector’s development.
No longer are ‘green’ projects considered a form of 21st century tribute, or restricted to a corporation’s CSR programme. Instead, the capital required to meet or even beat the two-degree ceiling is increasingly being seen as an investment rather than a cost – and one split voluntarily between the private and public sectors. Because despite growing calls for fiscal stimulus and the state-led commitments of the Paris Agreement, the trillions required are far beyond the capacity of taxpayers. Even the People’s Bank of China, custodian of the world’s largest sovereign reserves, has admitted that private investors must finance 85 per cent of the country’s environmental projects.
Mobilising green capital is thus a political, regulatory and industry priority worldwide. Such efforts are not beginning from scratch, though. Rather, they are seeking to further scale and strengthen one of the financial sector’s fastest growing and most vibrant sectors: green finance.
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