A new task force will build on the City’s global leadership in green finance as part of plans to create a low carbon economy.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of Climate Week in New York, climate change minister Claire Perry unveiled plans to make the UK a world-leader in green finance.
Green finance includes private sector investments in technologies, infrastructure and innovative start-ups that can create jobs and allow businesses to expand, boosting economic growth while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Between 1990 and 2016, UK GDP has grown by 67%, while carbon emissions have fallen by 42%, proving it is possible to reduce emissions and grow the economy.
Although the green finance agenda has gained global momentum in recent years, the market must accelerate to meet climate change commitments such as the Paris Agreement.
An estimated US$13.5tn of investment is needed between 2015 and 2030 in the energy sector alone, for countries to meet their Paris Agreement targets in particular.
The UK Gov recognises that much of this investment will come from the private sector and wants to use the UK’s green finance capabilities to provide a real national economic boost and help meet global challenges.
This has led to the establishment of a new task force, made up of leading industry and political figures, to help drive the green finance revolution.
Perry said: “Britain has already shown the world that a strong economy and efforts to tackle climate change can, and should, go hand in hand. Now is the time to build on our strengths and cement our position as a global hub for investment in clean growth.
“The transition to a low carbon economy is a multi-billion pound investment opportunity and a key part of this Government’s Industrial Strategy. Developing standards to promote responsible investment in sustainable projects and establishing the Green Finance Taskforce will help ensure businesses across the UK take full advantage of it.
“Britain’s financial sector is already a world-leader in green finance. Enabling this sector to develop further will not only assist the transition to a low carbon economy but also ensure London remains the world’s leading global financial centre.”
The taskforce, chaired by Sir Roger Gifford, former Lord Mayor of London, will be given six months to deliver ambitious proposals to accelerate investment in the transition to a low carbon economy, creating high-value jobs and opportunities for UK businesses. It will examine a range of interventions, from making infrastructure investment more sustainable to scaling-up green mortgages.
Economic secretary to the treasury, Stephen Barclay, said: “Financial services are a British success story and the sector has the power to drive green and sustainable development.
“It is a priority of mine that people are able to access financial products that support their values, whether that be sharia-compliant loans or green mortgages that have a positive environmental impact. This taskforce will keep the UK at the forefront of green finance and help deliver choice for consumers.”