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One of the only major economies to grow in 2020, China is now looking ahead to transition its economy towards a path of peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. Reaching these targets will involve whole-economy transition, including a rapid scale-up of climate finance. CPI’s latest report gives an overview of the current sustainable investment landscape, as well as the challenges and opportunities for scaling climate finance in China.

Recent developments indicate that China is taking serious steps to meet its climate ambition, with finance playing a center role:

The world’s attention is now focused on China’s upcoming 14th Five Year Plan (2021-2025). The government has already signaled the 14th Five Year Plan will establish the strategic direction for deep decarbonization across all sectors and determine China’s contribution towards a green global recovery, as well as the global target of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

These developments provide a strong foundation for China to rapidly scale up climate finance in the coming years, while restricting access to finance for fossil fuels. It also shows that China’s leaders are keen to promote the right levers for replacing high-speed growth with high-quality growth. Unlike China’s 2008 economic recovery, the post-pandemic stimulus plan is much better positioned to be sustainable: the plan features less carbon-intensive, “next-generation” projects such as 5G, artificial intelligence, high-tech manufacturing, EVs, and smart cities; and China has established a green financial system that is now robust enough to facilitate a green recovery while delivering improved financial performance.

Greening the financial system

China has championed green reform of its financial system since 2015. Most notable are its green credit and green bond policies, which have provided hundreds of billions in financing for green projects. Overall green finance in China reached an annual average of USD 320 billion in 2017/18, led by public actors such as central state-owned enterprises, policy banks, and other major state-owned banks.

China’s leadership on green finance has also yielded improved financial performance. Total green loans in China surpassed 10 trillion yuan (USD 1.4 trillion) in 2019, accounting for more than 10% of total commercial bank lending. Green loans have outperformed traditional loans, achieving a non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of 0.4%, compared with 1.8% for overall lending. Other research has shown that increasing the share of green loans in the total loan portfolio reduces a bank’s overall NPL ratio. As for green bonds, China remains the second largest market in the world, with over USD 180 billion in cumulative issuance since 2016. Globally, green bonds have outperformed non-green counterparts, even demonstrating resilience during the 2020 economic downturn.

China can lead and benefit from additional green financial reform. According to Ma Jun, Chairman of China’s Green Finance Committee, the risk weighting of green assets could be based on the performance of green credit portfolios. In parallel, the central bank can strengthen incentives for banks to increase their green loan and green bond activities through the macroprudential assessment (MPA) framework, which was adopted in 2016 to monitor risks to the financial system. Currently at trial stage, banks may attain higher MPA scores for undertaking green financing activities, which can then translate to monetary benefits. Now is an opportunity to accelerate the implementation of this framework to all banks nationwide. The central bank also allows green loans and green bonds to be accepted as collateral for their medium-term lending facility, which means that the top performing green banks have an advantage in accessing much needed liquidity.

Other opportunities to continue these efforts include strengthening green definitions in the Green Credit Guidelines, Green Industry Guiding Catalogue and Green Bond Eligible Project Catalogue, which outline a list of activities that qualify for green financing. Green credit policies may further tighten capital flows to climate-harmful activities (the current policy only asks banks to voluntarily limit financing for highly polluting, high resource-consuming, and overcapacity sectors, but does not impose an absolute cap). In addition, local governments may provide stronger monetary incentives for issuing green bonds in the form of tax exemptions, issuance subsidies, and technical assistance for reporting and verification.  

Finally, as global investors and asset managers allocate larger shares of their portfolios to sustainable finance, continued reforms in the sector and higher quality green financial products in China will provide ample opportunity to attract more foreign capital. The injection of foreign capital is needed now more than ever to stimulate the economy, in the wake of the pandemic.

China’s recovery can set a global example

China has an opportunity to signal strengthened climate ambition in its 14th Five Year Plan, due in March 2021, by increasing its carbon intensity targets, non-fossil fuel share of energy targets, and by committing to a more stringent target for decreasing the share of coal in total energy consumption. Continued green financial reform and incentives for scaling climate finance will play a key role in meeting these targets. The current ‘green penetration’ of China’s financial system is only around 4% and has huge potential to grow as the capital market continues to evolve and actors become more familiar with green financial instruments.

New climate targets should be backed by targeted financial incentives and policy certainty. Subsidies played a key role in positioning China as the world’s biggest investor in renewable energy and the largest market for EVs. Although these subsidies were recently reduced to rein in excess capacity, stable policy and targeted incentives will be critical to maintaining employment growth in the clean energy industry. Of the 11 million renewables jobs globally in 2018, 39% were in China, and nearly two-thirds were in the solar industry. Other policies China may consider include clear guidelines and guaranteed subsidies for projects that meet climate goals, financial incentives for provinces to meet and outperform renewable energy targets, increased allowance of local government subsidies to support residential, distributed and poverty-alleviation related solar projects, and more stringent standards for new coal capacity. China’s stimulus could also stabilize cash flows for renewable energy operators by paying out the government’s subsidy backlog of nearly 120 billion yuan.

Countries should not delay climate action until the world economy recovers. This was true in 2008 and it is even more urgent today. China has a head start in leading recovery on a green trajectory and can set a high bar for climate action leading up to COP26. As China continues to move forward at a fast pace, the rest of the world should prepare to mark 2021 as a pivotal year for embedding ambitious climate action at the heart of the new economic blueprint for building back better, towards a more prosperous and resilient society.


扩大中国气候融资规模

作者崔志云担任气候政策倡议组织(CPI)分析师一职。该组织与政府、企业和金融机构通力合作,在应对气候变化的同时推动经济增长。

作为2020年唯一实现经济增长的主要经济体,中国目前正在展望经济转型,力争在2030年前达到二氧化碳排放峰值,在2060年前实现碳中和。实现这些目标将涉及整体经济转型,包括迅速扩大气候融资规模。CPI的最新报告概述了当前可持续投资的前景,以及 中国扩大气候融资 所面临的挑战和机遇。

最新进展表明,中国正在采取严格的步骤措施来实现其气候雄心,其中金融扮演了重要角色:

目前,中国即将出台的“十四五”规划(2021-2025年)举世瞩目,政府已经明确表明,该规划将确立各行业深度脱碳的战略方向,明确中国对全球绿色复苏以及实现温控1.5摄氏度全球目标的贡献。

这些发展为中国在未来几年迅速扩大气候融资提供了坚实的基础,同时又限制了化石燃料的融资渠道。这也表明,中国领导人积极推动正确的杠杆,以高质量增长代替高速度增长。与中国2008年的经济复苏不同,疫情过后的经济刺激计划更有利于可持续发展:该计划以例如5G、人工智能、高科技制造、电动汽车和智能城市等低碳强度、“下一代”项目为特点,中国已经建立了一个强健的绿色金融体系,可以在改善-金融业绩的同时促进绿色复苏。

金融体系绿色化

自2015年以来,中国一直引领金融体系的绿色改革。其中最引人注目的是为绿色项目提供了数千亿美元融资的绿色信贷和绿色债券政策。在央企、政策性银行和其他大型国有银行等公共主体的引领下,中国在2017-2018年度的绿色金融总体规模达到年均3200亿美元。

中国在绿色融资方面的领导地位也提升了金融表现。2019年,中国绿色贷款总额超过10万亿元(1.4万亿美元),占商业银行贷款总额的10%以上。绿色贷款的表现优于传统贷款,不良贷款率为0.4%,而整体不良贷款率为1.8%。 其他研究表明,增加绿色贷款在总贷款组合中的份额会降低银行的整体不良贷款率。在绿色债券方面,中国仍然是世界第二大市场,2016年以来累计发行量超过1800亿美元。从全球范围来看,绿色债券的表现优于非绿色债券,即使是在最近的经济衰退期也表现出了韧性。

中国会引领绿色金融进行进一步改革,并从中受益。中国金融学会绿色金融专业委员会主任马骏表示,绿色资产的风险权重可以根据绿色信贷组合的表现来确定。同时,央行可以通过宏观审慎评估(MPA)框架强化对银行的激励措施来增加绿色贷款和绿色债券活动。该框架于2016年实施,旨在监测金融体系的风险。目前处于试点阶段,银行开展绿色融资活动可以获得更高的MPA分数,进而转化为货币效益。现在是在全国银行加快实施这一框架的好机会。央行还允许将绿色贷款和绿色债券作为中期贷款工具的抵押品,这意味着表现最好的绿色银行在获得急需的流动性方面具有优势。

继续进行这些努力的其他机遇包括强化《绿色信贷指引》、《绿色产业指导目录》 和《绿色债券支持项目目录》中的绿色定义,其中列出了有资格进行绿色融资的活动清单。 绿色信贷政策可能会进一步收紧资本注入对气候有害活动(当前政策仅要求银行自愿限制高污染、高资源消耗和产能过剩行业的融资,但没有设定绝对上限)。此外,地方政府可以通过税收减免、发行补贴、报告和核查的技术援助等形式,为发行绿色债券提供更强有力的货币激励措施。

最后,随着全球投资者和资产管理公司将其更大份额的投资组合配置到可持续金融领域,中国在该领域的持续改革和更高质量的绿色金融产品将为吸引更多外资提供充足机会。疫情发生之后,现在比以往任何时候都需要注入外资以刺激经济

中国复苏为世界树立榜样

中国可将于2021年3月颁布的“十四五”规划为契机,通过提高碳强度目标,提高非化石燃料在能源目标中所占份额,以及致力于实现更严格的目标来降低煤炭在总能源消耗中的比重,表明中国在应对气候变化的雄心。继续推进绿色金融改革和扩大气候融资的激励措施,将对实现这些目标方面发挥关键作用。目前,中国金融体系的“绿色渗透率”仅为4%左右,随着资本市场的不断发展以及主体对绿色金融工具的日益熟悉,中国金融体系具有巨大的增长潜力。

新的气候目标应该得到有针对性的财政激励和政策确定性的支持。中国作为全球最大的可再生能源投资国和最大的电动汽车市场这一定位,补贴发挥了关键作用。尽管政府最近削减补贴来控制产能过剩,但稳定的政策和有针对性的激励措施将对保持清洁能源行业的就业增长至关重要。2018年全球可再生能源就业岗位达1100万个,其中有39%在中国,近三分之二在太阳能行业。中国可以考虑如下政策:为气候目标达标项目制定明确的指导方针和保障性补贴;为实现和超额完成可再生能源目标的省份提供财政激励措施;增加地方政府补贴来支持住宅、分配和扶贫相关的太阳能项目;对新煤炭产能提出更严格的标准。另外,中国的经济刺激计划还可以通过支付积压的近1200亿元政府补贴来稳定可再生能源运营商的现金流。

在世界经济复苏之前,各国采取气候行动刻不容缓。2008年的情况就是如此,而今天更加紧迫。 中国在引领绿色经济复苏方面先拔头筹,可以在COP26举行之前为气候行动设定一个高标准。随着中国继续快速增长,世界其他国家应该准备好将2021年标记为关键的一年,将雄心勃勃的气候行动纳入新经济蓝图的核心,以实现更美好的重建,朝着一个更繁荣和更具有韧性的社会迈进。

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