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Opinion

Lofty green bond goals need to be global

Asia has so much to build and yet it doesn’t seem to be involved.

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One trillion dollars in green investments by 2020 – that is the goal Christiana Figueres, the UN’s former climate change chief, put forward again at the launch of the Green Bond Pledge in March. 

The pledge, developed by a range of sustainability groups, including Mission 2020 that Figueres is now part of, calls for agencies, governments and companies to commit to making infrastructure and capital projects climate resilient, and to support a green bond market by using them for infrastructure financing. 

It’s a lofty goal. The green bond market stands at $155 billion and is expected to hit $200 billion by the end of 2018. That means the market must increase five-fold during 2019 to hit the $1 trillion target (if we are talking green bonds alone). 

It is important to be ambitious when it comes to serious challenges like climate change, but sometimes it feels like these pledges are made in an echo chamber. 

The groups behind the pledge, for example, are based in the US and Europe, but the largest infrastructure projects are happening in Asia. According to the World Bank, China, Japan and India make up almost 40% of the world’s infrastructure needs by 2040.


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