Green bonds issued around the world could exceed US$200 billion this year, more than doubling the record level of $93.4 billion they hit in 2016, Moody’s Investors Service reported last week.
The market grew 120% last year over the previous, and consisted of “debt instruments used to raise funds for projects involving renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation, or encouraging a low-carbon economy,” Reuters reports. This year, the momentum “continues to be driven by the Paris climate agreement, China’s clean energy campaign, as well as new issuers and structures,” Moody’s stated.
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“Green bond issuance increased every year by an annual average of 163% between 2011 and 2015 and set consecutive issuance records during 2013-2015,” the news agency notes, citing the Moody’s report. “China-based issuers were the biggest source of these bonds in 2016, accounting for $32.9 billion—more than a third of the volume issued.”
That country “needs at least ¥2 trillion ($308.8 billion) of green investment annually over the next five years to promote environmental protection and reduce the effects of pollution from its rapid industrial growth over the past three decades.” But western pension funds and money managers are also getting onboard, particularly when they have mandates for socially or environmental responsible investing.
Then again, the 2016 threshold for green bonds only represented 1.4% of debt issuance in global capital markets. “While green bonds continue to gain momentum and have been extremely successful in generating attention for climate change and climate solutions, green bond-linked funding and investments continue to fall short of reaching the scale needed to play a significant role in the transition to a low-carbon economy,” the report stated.