U.K. Creating Finance ‘Lab’ to Meet UN Climate Goal

Apr 11, 2014 10:44 am ET

(Source corrects details of UN climate summit in seventh paragraph of story published April 9.)

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. government said it’s forming a “lab” to study ways to boost funding for climate- protection projects, part of a United Nations-led effort to channel $100 billion a year into the industry by 2020.

Energy Minister Greg Barker said government officials and investors from around the world will meet in London on June 3 to open a “global innovation lab for climate finance.” Norway, France, Japan and Denmark are involved, he said.

The initiative builds on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s effort to scale up ambitions for fighting global warming. Envoys from 190 nations are working to adopt an agreement by the end of 2015 that would limit fossil fuel emissions.

“The outlook for climate investment is looking up,” Barker said at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York today. “Mankind might just prove capable of rising to the greatest challenge of our century.”

Barker said the finance lab would work like a “dragon’s den” for investments, stress-testing ideas to make sure they work before giving them the green light for government and private funding to flow.

Ban hosts a summit in New York in September where he wants world leaders to pledge deeper action on fighting climate change. Industrial nations already have promised to boost climate-related aid to $100 billion a year by 2020, about 10 times the current level. They haven’t said how they will reach that goal.

Barker said he’s optimistic that political attention is returning to protecting the environment because U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart have been invited to meet in New York in September to discuss climate.

“Very few global leaders have been investing big political capital in climate action,” Barker said. “They simply would not be going near this issue if both parties didn’t see there was some chance of progress, real progress.”