COP26: Rishi Sunak warns public investment alone not enough to beat climate change

Rishi Sunak has warned public investment alone will not be enough to beat climate change.

Speaking at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, the Chancellor urged the private sector to do more.

Mr Sunak also told delegates that developed governments are going to meet their six-year-old promise to send 100 billion US dollars (£73 billion) to developing countries in 2023, three years behind target.

He said: “While we know we are not yet meeting it soon enough, we will work closely with developing countries to do more and to reach the target soon.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak speaking at the COP26 summit at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, ahead of a meeting with a group of finance ministers who are backing a plan to create new global climate reporting standards. Picture: PA

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“Public investment alone isn’t enough, so our second action is to mobilise private finance.”

The Chancellor also announced financial institutions controlling 40 per cent of global assets will align themselves to the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C limit for global warming.

He said: “Six years ago Paris set the ambition. Today in Glasgow we’re providing the investment we need to deliver that ambition.”

Mr Sunak also promised to turn the UK into what he said will be the world’s first net-zero aligned financial centre.

He told the summit: “Today I am announcing the UK will go further and become the first ever net zero aligned financial centre.

“This means we are going to move towards making it mandatory for firms to publish a clear, deliverable plan setting out how they will decarbonise and transition to net zero with an independent task force.”

All financial institutions and listed companies in the UK will be forced to publish plans on how they will transition to net zero from 2023.

He was speaking ahead of Janet Yellen, the US Treasury Secretary, who said climate change is a huge opportunity for businesses.

“The old notions of why the private sector should decarbonise because the planet must be put before profit are no longer universally true,” she said.

“Green technologies have cost curves that continue to plunge, in many cases it is simply cost effective to go green.

“Addressing climate change is the greatest economic opportunity of our time.”

Finance ministers are meeting in Glasgow on Wednesday following the meetings between world leaders on Monday.

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