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UK chancellor calls for countries to make mandatory climate disclosures

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·3-min read
Rishi Sunak said that net-zero targets need to be backed by financial and economic policy in order to work, emphasising the need for a 'decisive progress in the transition to net-zero.' Photo: John Sibley/Reuters
Rishi Sunak said that net-zero targets need to be backed by financial and economic policy in order to work, emphasising the need for a 'decisive progress in the transition to net-zero.' Photo: John Sibley/Reuters

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak called for collaboration and "strong, coordinated, global leadership" in a virtual event hosted by Bloomberg, alongside Daniele Franco, minister of economy and finance for Italy, on Tuesday.

Speaking of what he called a "moment of profound challenge and change" he said the only way to begin resolving the problems brought by the coronavirus pandemic and climate change is to work together.

In answer to the question: "What can we do to green the financial system?" he called for a widespread adoption of mandatory climate-related financial disclosures, which are already present in the UK.

Sunak also said that net-zero targets need to be backed by financial and economic policy in order to work, emphasising the need for a "decisive progress in the transition to net-zero."

The chancellor outlined three priorities for the UK and other nations ahead of the G7 and G20 meetings: supporting vulnerable countries; focusing on the transition to net-zero emissions and modernising the global tax system, which he said "isn't fit for purpose."

Sunak and Franco are the respective leads of the G7 and G20 Finance Tracks for 2021. The G20 summit is set to take place in Rome in October, while the Cornwall in the UK will host the G7 in June.

The drive towards net-zero has been a significant goal among world leaders and was highlighted as a priority by many at this year's virtual World Economic Forum (WEF) conference. It has soared up the agenda as some have emphasised that climate change is a bigger threat to the economy than COVID.

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Rishi Sunak has already pledged in his March budget to introduce the world's first sovereign green savings bonds to UK retail investors who are interested in saving the environment.

According to the Treasury the move will allow people to help drive Britain's greener future and goals to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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The bonds will help the government raise funds to invest in renewable energy and clean transportation projects among other things.

This is included in the launch of three initiatives within the UK's £1bn ($1.4bn) Net-Zero Innovation Portfolio. The portfolio is a UK-wide scheme to support the development of the innovative technologies needed to reach net-zero.

Funding allocations are expected to include, £20m for a competition to develop floating offshore wind demonstration projects, which can be "deployed in deep waters where winds are strongest."

This will support the government’s plans to generate enough electricity from offshore wind to power every home by 2030, the Treasury said. It added that the floating offshore wind market has significant growth potential, especially in Scotland and Wales, which could "lead to the creation of new, high value, sustainable jobs."

Additionally, almost £70m is expected for a competition to deliver "first-of-a-kind long-duration energy storage prototypes" that will cut the cost of net-zero by storing excess low carbon energy over longer periods.

When it was announced, Sunak said that the green bonds would help drive innovation and technologies needed to reduce Britain's usage of greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels.

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