If you missed last week’s launch of the UK Green Finance Strategy, it is entirely possible you’re not alone.
The 80-page document may make for dry reading for all but finance diehards, but the issue it sets its sights on is consequential: the inescapable truth that the world is failing to invest in clean energy with the scale required – US$2.4 trillion a year, scientists say – to limit destructive climate change.
How the UK chooses to move on green finance matters. Its economy stands among the world’s top ten in GDP terms and, even more crucially, it is home to a financial services industry that is a global powerhouse. Does the new strategy do justice to such potential for influence, does it show the UK is ready to put the City of London’s formidable leverage behind the fight against a warming world?
MP and Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell was unconvinced, alternately describing the green finance strategy as “too little too late” and “ineffectual and toothless”. Whether there is merit to the claims, the new plan by Theresa May’s Tories does appear to suffer from the usual vice of policy documents: it does a slightly better job justifying the need to act than it does fleshing out exactly what the actions will be.
Given the US climate-sceptic winds blowing from across the pond, the UK’s government cannot be faulted for wanting to “turbo-charge” clean energy finance. Few would oppose a £20 million new venture scheme, a £10 million Rural Community Energy Fund and a £5 million boost for the Green Home Finance Fund. But localised efforts can only shift the needle so far.
Read more: Solar Power Portal