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Asia Meeting of the San Giorgio Group: Financing Asia’s Low Carbon Growth

Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2013-01-31

A joint meeting organized by Climate Policy Initiative and CLP Holdings in collaboration with the Fung Global Institute. Since its founding in October 2011, the SGG – a working group established by Climate Policy Initiative, in collaboration with the World Bank Group, CLP Holdings, and the OECD – has made important steps to encourage collaboration between financial intermediaries and institutions engaged in green, low-carbon growth at the global level. In this new chapter, CPI and CLP, together with the Fung Global Institute, extend the network to focus on Asia’s quest to scale up effective green finance in support of the region’s transition towards a more sustainable growth path.

Agenda, Presentations, and Gallery
Welcome
  • Thomas C. Heller, Executive Director, Climate Policy Initiative
  • Christine Loh, Under Secretary for the Environment, HKSAR Government
Setting the Scene

This session set the scene on public and private sector financing of renewable energy. Panellists assembled lessons from their analytical work and considered developments over the past year affecting the current climate finance landscape.

Chair:  Mark Lundell, Sector Manager for the Sustainable Development Department for China and Mongolia, The World Bank

Panellists:

  • Barbara Buchner, Senior Director, Climate Policy Initiative Europe
  • Li Junfeng, Deputy Director, Energy Research Institute, National Development and Reform Commission, China (NDRC)
  • Helen Mountford, Deputy Director for the Environment, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Case Studies & Project Developers’ Perspectives

As the region develops, energy demand is growing rapidly in many emerging economies and investments are taking place in order to support continued economic development. Such investment creates opportunities to potentially ‘leap-frog’ dirtier technologies and simultaneously attains development, growth, and environmental goals. However, the high cost of some renewable technologies impedes deployment at speeds or scales sufficient to meet demand. Existing renewable energy projects in Asia may offer insights on viable ways to achieve economies of scale, reduce costs, and close the competitiveness gaps.  This session focused on what policies have/have not worked in facilitating high-cost investments to become viable options for countries looking to meet growing demand?

Chair: Nathaniel Bullard, Director, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Panellists:

Perspectives from the Financial Sector

The Asian climate finance landscape is still in its infancy, but some projects seem to have successfully overcome barriers. If we were to create a map of climate investment and infrastructure funding in Asia, what would it look like?  This panel looked at how  key issues, such as policy, risk-sharing, and lifecycle are being addressed.  The gaps that need to be filled for the sector to advance further were also identified.

Chair: Nathaniel Bullard, Director, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Panellists:

  • Anita George, Regional Industry Director, Asia, International Finance Corporation
  • David Nelson, Senior Director, Climate Policy Initiative
  • Raya Prabhu, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs
  • Andrew Sheng, President, Fung Global Institute 
The China Challenge: Capturing All the Opportunities

China offers many opportunities for testing and installing climate-friendly technologies in support of the country’s transition to a cleaner future, but within a very unique funding and policy framework.  This panel focused on  what  multilateral, state, and private funding vehicles exist and how are these being used.  Panelists explored, the role of policy in supporting the transition, and how it can be more effective at the national and local levels, how  China can use finance and policy to support the transition to a greener economy, and conversely, what lessons from China can be applied elsewhere in Asia or the world.

Chair: Andrew Sheng, President, Fung Global Institute

Panellists:

  • Liu Mingkang, Distinguished Fellow, Fung Global Institute and Former Chairman, China Banking Regulatory Commission
  • Wu Changhua, Greater China Director, The Climate Group
  • Bai Chongen, Associate Dean, School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University
Scaling-up Opportunities to Finance Asia’s Low Carbon Growth

There is no question that there are substantive financial resources available – the real question is how to encourage the direction of investment flows towards low-carbon development as opposed to other more attractive competing investments.  Although Asia’s pace of low-carbon infrastructure development is outstripping that in developed economies, it is perceived that this rate can be further accelerated. This breakout brainstorming session captured participants’ views and perspectives on how Asia’s low-carbon growth can be accelerated or scaled-up given the proven and theoretical challenges and solutions presented so far during the day.

Concluding Panel: Priorities Ahead

The concluding panel brought together experts from the project development, policy and finance communities to explore our strategy and highlight our priorities going forward. Based on the previous sessions and the San Giorgio Group’s emphasis on learning lessons from evolving practices, panelists highlighted key issues that require attention to render green, low-emissions finance effective in order to

  • identify the working agenda and main questions with relevance to Asia for the San Giorgio Group in 2013; and
  • discuss the implications of the San Giorgio Group work for the design of the Green Climate Fund and sharing knowledge more effectively.

Chair: Thomas C. Heller, Executive Director, Climate Policy Initiative

Panellists:

  • Andrew Brandler, Chief Executive Officer, CLP Holdings
  • Christoph Frei, Secretary General, World Energy Council (WEC)
  • Wei Jen Leow, Chief, Climate Finance, Ministry of Finance, Singapore

Nicholas Stern (by video), Chair, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science and Member of the Academic Council, Fung Global Institute

 Wrap-up & Closing Remarks
  • Thomas C. Heller, Executive Director, Climate Policy Initiative

 

Gallery