The dollars in climate change

Updated: 2014-10-29 07:58

By Oswald Chan in Hong Kong(HK Edition)

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HK to profit from partnerships in mainland environmentally friendly projects

Hong Kong stands to benefit greatly as a source of capital to help finance increased mainland investment in environmentally friendly technologies, International Finance Corporation (IFC) World Bank Group said.

The dollars in climate change

"In the last 10 years, banks on the mainland have provided $6 billion to finance environmental projects that have effectively reduced carbon emissions by 20 million tonnes. About half of the $2.3 billion investment in climate-friendly technologies in Asia came from the mainland," said William Trant Beloe, senior operations officer at IFC's Asian Climate Change Finance.

Fully aware of the damage to society and the economy as a result of pollution, the mainland government has become increasingly active in promoting investments in new technologies that can help cut down pollution and improve the environment, Beloe said.

The dollars in climate change

"An average of $300 billion is spent every year in healthcare services on the mainland to counter the harmful effects of pollution," Beloe said. That amount, he noted, equals two percent of the gross domestic product. "Around 40 percent of the world's renewable energy investments were made on the mainland," he said.

"The mainland has the advantage in developing the carbon emissions trading system because investors only need to deal with the government on regulatory issues. If the carbon emissions trading regime works well on the mainland, other countries will likely follow," Beloe noted.

Alexandra Boakes Tracy, chairman of the Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia, was also bullish on prospects of environmental-friendly technologies investment on the mainland. "The mainland government has taken aggressive steps to reduce carbon emissions and has spent $60 billion on clean energy," she said.

Financial experts said Hong Kong can capitalize on its expertise to help fund those environmental projects.

"Hong Kong, an Asian financial center and gateway to the mainland, is a long-established banking, insurance and project finance center. The Hong Kong platform also boasts the listings of many mainland renewable energy companies. The city also possesses the fixed-income market expertise that can be utilized to issue green bonds designed specifically for the financing of environmental projects," Tracy said.

"The mainland offers a wealth of opportunities in environmental investments in the sectors of energy efficiency, water, waste management, transportation, and green real estate," she added.

 The dollars in climate change

Despite various measures being taken to deal with environmental pollution, Beijing continues to be shrouded in smog. Investors have shown interest in developing clean energy technology as public concern over environmental pollution on the mainland rises.  AFP

(HK Edition 10/29/2014 page8)