Financing the war on climate change

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On 12 April 1912 the Titanic set sail. Two days later, while in the Arctic seas Captain Edward Smith received 7 iceberg warnings over the course of the day. But he followed standard procedure which was to proceed at full speed on the basis that the lookout would provide sufficient warning and the ship could steer or smash its way through. Based on backward looking historic data this was smart thinking. He had a schedule to keep, he was expected in New York in three days, and he was after all captain of the largest and newest boat in the […]

Pavements and road crossings

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One unfortunate side-effect of my job is seeing all problems through a climate finance lens. See a problem that need fixing, sort-it with a green loan, possibly credit enhanced and securitised for good measure. But there are a few things in life that money(-markets) can’t buy and government has to dip into its pockets and pay for itself. Pavements are one such problem. I spent the first week of January in New Delhi scurrying around the diplomatic enclaves and the chic district of Safdarjung in southern New Delhi. The city has seen massive investment in its sleek new(-ish) metro system. […]

Four things environmentalists can learn from Hong Kong

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So my three and a half years in Hong Kong are up and I’m wending my way back to the UK tomorrow via the Silk Road over the next four weeks. In my work here, I often suggest environmental policies from other countries that Hong Kong might adopt. But knowledge transfer has traditionally wafted the other way, from East to West. So I thought I’d use my last Hong Kong blog to about what Hong Kong can teach policy makers in the West.   1.   The MTR (Mass Transit Railway) Now carrying around 5.79 million passengers a day in Hong Kong […]

Why are Hong’s two power utilities CLP and HKE building an off-shore LNG regasification plant?

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Economics, Environment, Technology

Two weeks ago I experienced the usual level of cognitive dissonance most environmentalists working in Hong Kong get from time-to-time. I spent Thursday at an uplifting conference on green finance organised by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the International Capital Market’s Association. Star billing went to the green bonds market, which is starting to really take off with around US$180 billions of issuance, which is around 2% of the value of all bonds issued last year. Hong Kong wants a piece of this – especially the lucrative deals from mainland Chinese banks wanting to raise finance for renewable energy, […]

Train trips in India and China

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Christmas and New Year was spent in India attending a cousin’s wedding and a nephew’s thread ceremony. It’s always fun going back to the country of my birth. I love the food, the music, the great value for money and energy of the place. But It’s also depressing seeing how slowly it changes. India’s stagnation was made even more evident, when six weeks later, I visited the beautiful town of Guilin in Guangxi. Arrivals at Mumbai Airport set the tone. The automated fingerprint check, designed to streamline entry into the country, bureaucratically first demanded two thumbs, then four right fingers, […]