China to improve green finance standards to support carbon neutrality goal - central bank head

FILE PHOTO: Governor of People's Bank of China (PBOC) Yi Gang attends a news conference on China's economic development ahead of the 70th anniversary of its founding, in Beijing, China September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Florence Lo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will improve its green finance standards to support carbon neutrality objectives and make it easier for foreign investors to enter the green finance market, central bank governor Yi Gang said on Wednesday via video at the Singapore Fintech Festival.

“We will promote harmonisation of green finance standards at home and aboard by updating domestic standards and strengthening international cooperation”, Yi said.

President Xi Jinping promised in September that China would bring climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions to a peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, committing the country to an accelerated transition to renewable energy.

China has excluded “clean coal” from a list of projects eligible for green bonds, according to new draft guidelines published by the central bank in May.

As of June 2020, China’s outstanding green lending exceeded 11 trillion yuan ($1.69 trillion), the biggest globally, while its green bonds totalled 1.2 trillion yuan, the second largest in the world, Yi said.

Financial technology, including big data and artificial intelligence and block chains, will play an increasing role in supporting green finance, Yi said.

He said China would strengthen its study on the potential impact of environmental and climate risks on financial stability.

Reporting by Liangping Gao, Judy Hua and Kevin Yao; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore