Two years ago the COP 21 climate change summit looked forward to a carbon-free future. But have green bonds and carbon pricing had an effect on how the world deals with global warming?
Two years ago, the COP 21 climate change conference rubber-stamped an agreement towards a carbon-free future. Now two years down the line, the French President Emmanuel Macron is using the One Planet summit to encourage wealthy countries companies to commit more funds to combat global warming. He says he want to make the planet great again.
Green bonds were promoted as one way of raising capital for environmentally-friendly investments. But Philippe Lambert, a member of the Green Group at the European Parliament warns of catch-all, green investments.
"Everyone knows that the important financial actors like to announce 'green' things and do a lot of 'greenwashing' without really taking concrete action," he explains. "Therefore, the credibility of the product is absolutely crucial if you want to spark a craze amongst smaller investors."
Lambert believes initiatives should come from the public sector and ideally include unified criteria on a European level so that the green label, and green investments, have the same power in every European country.
Carbon pricing was another mechansism put forward by COP 21. This is the price companies must pay to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Europe prices these emissions at 7 euro a tonne. And more initiatives are appearing on a global scale. But here again Lambert says there needs to be harmonisation.
"If you want to avoid unfair competition, you need to have a single carbon market," he says. "So today, it is true that China is experimenting, some parts of the United States are also experimenting, but obviously the risk public powers run on a regional or even local level is leaving themselves open to blackmail from companies who want to relocate to a different areas."
Lambert says prices are starting to stabilise at around at 35-40 euros per tonne. After that, he says, everything depends on the speed at which the world wants to push ecological transition.