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UK’s faster green issues response could make it global leader

4 January 2021

The battle to lead the global green revolution could fall to the UK and USA, with the EU at risk of falling behind, says Aegon Asset Management’s Robert-Jan van der Mark.

A shift in American leadership, with the new President-elect committed to a programme of green initiatives, and a strong UK political agenda make the pair strong contenders to lead the global agenda for setting standards, says van der Mark.

In comparison, the EU may lose ground on the UK and US due to its bureaucratic and sluggish political processes.

Van der Mark says: “After Biden has been formally installed and gets approval for his ‘Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice’ programme, the US will quickly get started with the green agenda. This will unleash competition on a key area of the green revolution – setting the standards on global greenification. Who will set the rules for a decarbonisation?”

The US currently accounts for 15% of global emissions and Biden has pledged to re-join the Paris Agreement as well as convene a climate world summit to persuade other nations to join the US in making more ambitious national pledges.

Meanwhile, as part of the EU Green Deal, the European Commission has launched public consultations on energy taxation and a carbon border adjustment mechanism, while the UK recently unveiled a comprehensive 10-point climate plan.

City of London – global centre of green finance

Van der Mark comments: “An interesting point in the UK government’s plan is the point ‘Innovation and finance’, a step that will make the City of London ‘the global centre of green finance’. This will ultimately allow the UK a significant role in setting the global standards for sustainable finance and will be vital for the UK to secure a seat at the table in global sustainable finance taxonomy discussions.

“With the EU taxonomy for sustainable finance, the European Union is developing definitions for what constitutes sustainable investments. The dominating standards will have a great influence in directing areas of future investments into sustainable initiatives. The EU has, however, shown that its complex political system can be quite slow, while the US and UK has shown more political flexibility in past years. It will be important to stay on the forefront of standard setting and construct partnerships to keep influence.”

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