Statement by Henry M. Paulson, Jr: Green Finance is Crucial for Sustainable Global Economic Growth

Chicago, IL—On the heels of the Leaders Meeting of the G20 in Hangzhou, Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Chairman of the Paulson Institute, made the following statement:

“The Leaders Meeting of the G20 comes at a time of increasing political uncertainty and slackening economic growth. It is essential that the heads of state of the world’s leading economies reaffirm their commitment to avoiding protectionism, transparently discuss the economic challenges they are facing, and seek to find complementary programs and policies to revitalize economic growth and provide consistency and clarity to the financial infrastructure.

Under China’s Presidency, the G20 has prioritized the development of a global green finance system.

China has co-chaired with the United Kingdom a G20 Green Finance Study Group to develop recommendations for scaling up a green finance system internationally. The challenges are significant, ranging from limitations on available government funding to inadequate analytical capacity and uncoordinated policies. I applaud the leadership role China is playing in devising solutions for these issues.

The good news is that although government funding is limited, there is an abundance of private capital globally. But, as the study group recommendations point out, governments need to create the proper conditions to attract this capital. They have an important role to play in putting in place the proper regulations and incentives and making sure they are implemented. Global capital markets can then play a crucial role in allocating capital to low-carbon sectors that have the potential to generate new sources of economic growth and create new jobs.

The Paulson Institute is working to support the development of a global green finance system, convening green finance symposiums in Washington, DC, and Beijing. We are also serving as a non-commercial advisor to the establishment of the Building Energy Efficiency and Green Development Fund, a U.S.-China public-private entity that aims to accelerate the deployment of U.S. technology and expertise in the Chinese market to substantially reduce CO2 and other climate-related emissions.

The historic agreements reached at the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015 are an encouraging sign that the global community is prepared to deal with climate change, which I believe is perhaps the greatest economic risk that the world faces today. But to meet this formidable challenge, countries will have to move away from traditional industrial models and pursue low-carbon economic growth, marshaling huge amounts of private capital to roll out new clean technologies at scale on a cost-effective basis. This cannot be done without a robust green finance system.” 

About the Paulson Institute: The Paulson Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit Think and Do Tank grounded in the principle that today’s most pressing economic and environmental challenges can be solved only if the United States and China—the world’s largest economies, energy consumers, and emitters of carbon—work in complementary ways. The Institute’s mission is to strengthen US-China relations and to advance sustainable economic growth and environmental protection in both countries. The Institute’s programs—the “Do” side—focus on advancing the transition to more sustainable, low-carbon economic models in China and the United States through industrial transformation, smart urbanization programs, and environmental conservation. In so doing, the Institute aims to advance industrial and nature-based solutions to climate change.

The Institute also promotes bilateral cross-border investment that will help create jobs and strengthen U.S.-China relations. The Institute’s Think Tank publishes prescriptive and analytical papers from leading scholars and practitioners on the most important macroeconomic and structural reform issues facing China today. Founded in 2011 by Henry M. Paulson, Jr., the 74th Secretary of the Treasury and former Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs, the Institute is based in Chicago and has offices in Washington, San Francisco, and Beijing.