UK Parliament Environmental Audit Committee launches Inquiry into Green Finance

 

Environmental Audit Committee media release

 

Friday 14 June 2013

For immediate release

 

NEW INQUIRY LAUNCHED ON GREEN FINANCE

 

The Environmental Audit Committee is today launching a new inquiry into Green Finance. This inquiry follows on from the Committee’s previous inquiries on a green economy, environmental taxes and environmental aspects of Autumn Statement 2012.[1] The Committee held a joint seminar with the City of London on green finance to help scope this inquiry. A transcript of that seminar is available from the Committee’s website.[2]

The Committee will be examining:

(i) What are the main drivers behind institutional investors’ decisions on the type of investments they include in their portfolios? Where they contemplate supporting energy or environmental projects, what relative weights do they give to questions of possible financial return, environmental/carbon impact, energy security, or other factors?

(ii) How effective are the financial markets in matching available finance to the required investment in renewable energy and other green projects? To what extent is a potential “carbon bubble” [3] a real risk?

(iii) What should the Government be doing to help redirect finance to help fill the £-multi-billion green finance gap? This includes:–

·         How can ‘political risk’ to investors from changes to the Government’s energy and environmental policies be reduced?  Can the Government ever remove political risk or are more innovative financial instruments that offset those risks the solution?

·         Is greater direction to banks needed to encourage them to increase their lending to renewable energy and green projects?

·         How can pension funds and other investors be encouraged to re-direct their capital funds towards investments with green objectives?

·         Are fiscal incentives for people/institutions to put funds in green investments needed, and if so what?

·         How can better information on the environmental impacts of investments and companies be provided to investors? What difference would such information make to investors in practice?

·         What are the pros and cons of having a financial transaction tax (Tobin tax) with revenue hypothecated to support green investments ?

(iv) What can the Government do to help increase the flow of finance to small and community-based renewable energy and green projects?;

(v) What impact is the Green Investment Bank likely to have on the green finance gap? Does it have the right investment strategy?; and

(vi) How should progress against that green finance requirement be monitored? While the Committee on Climate Change monitor progress on emissions reduction via the Carbon Budgets, and the Office for Budget Responsibility monitors progress on Government debt reduction, who should monitors progress on delivering the necessary green finance?

As part of this inquiry the Committee will also be visiting the Green Investment Bank’s Edinburgh Headquarters in September to question the Bank’s senior executives on its first year of operations. The Committee undertook an inquiry in 2011 on how the Bank should be designed.[4]

The Committee is inviting written evidence on these issues by 18 July, although later submissions may be accepted. More wide ranging responses are also welcome. Guidance on preparing submissions is set out below.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION:

 

Media Information: Nick Davies  daviesnick@parliament.uk   020 7219 3297   / 07917488141

 

For written submissions to the Committee, please note:

 

Each submission should ideally:

  • Begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
  • Have numbered paragraphs; and
  • Be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

 

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to eacom@parliament.uk and marked ‘Green Finance’. An additional paper copy should be sent to:

 

Clerk of the Committee

Environmental Audit Committee

House of Commons

7 Millbank

London

SW1P 3JA

 

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

 

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/witnessguide.pdf

 

Please also note that:

·         Material published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

·         Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

·         Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Committee Membership is as follows: 

Chair:  Joan Walley, MP

Peter Aldous MP Chris Evans MP Dr Matthew Offord MP
Richard Benyon MP* Zac Goldsmith MP Mr Mark Spencer MP
Neil Carmichael MP Mark Lazarowicz MP Paul Uppal MP
Martin Caton MP Caroline Lucas MP Dr Alan Whitehead MP
Katy Clark MP Caroline Nokes MP Simon Wright MP

* The Minister for the Environment has membership of the Committee in like manner to the Financial Secretary’s membership of the Committee of Public Accounts.

 

Specific Committee Information:  eacom@parliament.uk/ 020 7219 5776/ 020 7219 6150

 

Committee Website: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/

 

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:  www.parliamentlive.tv   

 

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Shop (12 Bridge StWestminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474).  Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk