In July, I joined the British Prime Minister on his historic visit to India, a country where a staggering 450 million people still lack access to electricity. Yet India is already the fifth largest user of energy in the world and rising. This is a massive challenge for its government.
I was hugely impressed by the way India is moving to develop green technologies and renewable energy sources. It has realised that a trinity of money, creativity and the right government support will begin to erode dependence on expensive, imported fossil fuels.
But developing and developed countries alike must all now make the transition to a low carbon economy.
Key to making that happen, in particular in developing countries, is to get finance flowing so that green investment is at the heart of growth.
Earlier this week I represented the U.K. at the Major Economies Forum in New York. It was a chance for me to explain what I have learned from my visit to India and to champion the important work that the UK is doing to catalyse finance to developing countries.
An example of this is the Capital Markets Climate Initiative (CMCI), which met in London at the start of September. I was encouraged to focus on the CMCI after meeting senior business leaders during my trip to India who are deeply engaged by the green growth agenda. The role of the private sector in a global low carbon transition has been ignored for too long. The CMCI has been discussing the barriers to investment and how we can unleash private capital to make green investment the best option in emerging economies. I see the city of London, with its unique expertise in innovative financial products, leading the world and becoming a global hub for green growth finance.
In the U.K. we want to exploit the huge business and job opportunities a global move to low carbon will inevitably bring. We are looking to create a Green Investment Bank to boost investment, create jobs and prosperity as the U.K. economy recovers.
So today I am back in New York to support Climate Week and to fly the flag for British business. Our expertise in offshore wind is already the envy of the world and our commitment to a low carbon economy makes the U.K. a great place to invest. The new coalition is determined to be the greenest government ever. Now is the time to seize this opportunity and reap the benefits as we lead a new industrial revolution. Green Britain is open for business.
Gregory Barker MP is the Minister of State for Energy Climate Change for the United Kingdom.
Articles, analyses and resource material about Climate Week NYºC are available at www.greenbiz.com/topic/climate-week-nyc-2010. For more information and event developments, visit www.climateweeknyc.org and Twitter @ClimateWeekNYC.
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