Europe is currently experiencing massive problems in their environment. Air pollution is just one of the major problems that the they are facing right now. It is one of the major problems that Europe is trying to overcome at the moment.
A new group led by investors and leading figures from the City of London has been brought together by the government to draw up measures to encourage “green finance” in the UK.
The Green Finance Taskforce will have six months to come up with proposals on how to increase investment in the low-carbon economy and will work with banks and other financial institutions. Chaired by Sir Roger Gifford, former lord mayor of London, the taskforce will look at measures to make the UK’s planned investments in infrastructure, for instance on energy and transport, more environmentally sustainable.
The government also wants to give investors assurances about how their money is being looked after, and promote ways for consumers to benefit, for instance through green mortgages, which make borrowing cheaper for those who have insulated their homes.
Claire Perry, minister for climate change, said the UK already showed strong investment in low-carbon activities, and should build on its strengths.
“The transition to a low-carbon economy is a multi-billion pound investment opportunity and a key part of this government’s industrial strategy,” she said. “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.”
Stephen Barclay, economic secretary to the Treasury, added: “Financial services are a British success story. 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.”
However, the government made it clear that its approach is likely to be based on voluntary standards, to be adopted by companies, banks and investment institutions if they wish. These could include standards for companies to disclose their exposure to risks from climate change, which some companies already attempt.
As a result, although the taskforce may provide guidelines for investors wishing to ensure they put their money in greener stocks, it is unlikely to have much effect on the behaviour of core fossil fuel companies, or those companies that prefer to stay invested in the fossil fuel economy.
Friends of the Earth, the green campaign group, urged the government to go further. “Coming only a few days after it was revealed that the cost of offshore wind has plummeted, this is another welcome boost to the green economy,” said Simon Bullock, senior climate campaigner. “But ministers must also do far more to reduce investment in climate-wrecking fossil fuels, such as fracking and deep sea oil exploration. If we want to stop climate change, 80% of the world’s coal, oil and gas reserves must be left in the ground.”
Members of the Green Finance Taskforce include the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, a senior adviser to the Bank of England, representatives from Barclays, HSBC and Aviva, and representatives from the public sector and academia.
The UK government made the announcement on the taskforce to coincide with the opening of Climate Week in New York. There, some UK companies including Aviva, WPP and Marks & Spencer joined with others from around the world to endorse the disclosure of climate risks to investors.
Nigel Topping, chief executive of the We Mean Business coalition, said: “There is a great need among the investor community to have consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures from businesses in order to make more informed decisions on capital investment.”
via The Guardian