One of my favourite quotes from the critically acclaimed series The Wire is, "You start to follow the money, and you don't know where the f*** it's going to take you". While the connection may not seem obvious I was reminded of this lesson when reading one of the many press releases making their way out of COP26 currently being held in Glasgow.
Following the money, according to new proposed UK Treasury rules, may lead to net-zero. Financial institutions and companies with shares listed on the London Stock Exchange will have to come up with net-zero transition plans, which will be published from 2023. An expert panel will set the standards the plans need to meet to ensure they are not just spin, aka "green-washing". The aimed increase in transparency and accountability does not make specific net-zero commitments mandatory, but it may be a reaction to reports investment in innovative technologies needed to reach net-zero is lacking. The International Energy Agency's (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2021 (WEO-2021), for example, estimates only one-third of the required public spending on sustainable energy has been mobilized so far (https://www.marks-clerk.com/insights/m-c-reacts-iea-s-world-energy-outlook-investment-and-innovation-key-to-reaching-net-zero/).
The proposed Treasury rules target private finance rather than public funds; however, the direction of travel is clear, green investment is needed in technology and innovation. Simply put, the money must support a transition to net-zero.
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