GLASGOW: The UK plans to become the world’s first net zero-aligned financial centre, the Treasury announced on Tuesday.
Under the proposals, UK financial institutions and listed companies will be required to publish their net zero-transition plans, detailing how they intend to adapt and decarbonize as the UK moves toward a net-zero economy by 2050. To guard against “greenwashing,” or giving a false impression of a business’s environmental credentials, a science-based “gold standard” for the process will be drawn up by a new Transition Plan Taskforce that includes industry and academic leaders, regulators and representatives of civil society groups.
The Treasury said the move will see more than $130 trillion, 40 percent of the world’s financial assets, aligned with the climate goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement following a deal with financial services firms.
More than 120 heads of state and government gathered in Glasgow, Scotland, this week for a two-day event at the start of COP26, the UN’s Climate Change Conference, which organizers say is crucial for charting humanity’s path away from catastrophic global warming. COP26 has been billed as vitally important for the continued viability of the Paris Agreement, which was adopted at COP21 in 2015 by 196 countries and international entities. They promised to pursue the goal of limiting global temperature rises to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to work toward limiting the increase to 1.5 C.
The UK holds the presidency of the G7 this year and in this role, it has worked, in partnership with G20 member states, to ensure all economic and financial decisions take the risks of climate change into account. British authorities also assembled more than 30 advanced and developing countries from across six continents, representing more than 70 percent of global gross domestic product, to back the creation of new global climate-reporting standards by the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation to give investors the information they need to fund net zero efforts.
UK authorities aim to address the barriers to financing developing countries face, through a series of new green initiatives funded by its international climate finance commitment. This includes £100 million ($136.11 million) to respond to recommendations from the UK co-chaired Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance, to make it quicker and easier for developing countries to access finance to fund their climate plans.
In total, the UK will spend £576 million on a package of initiatives to channel funding into emerging markets and developing economies, including £66 million to expand the UK’s MOBILISE program, which helps to develop new investment products that can be listed on public markets to attract a variety of investors.
The UK is already the biggest donor to the multilateral Climate Investment Funds, having contributed £2.5 billion.
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