On 29 and 30 May, a high-level Chinese delegation visited the Netherlands to exchange ideas about innovative directions for policy and research in the fields of climate finance and green finance, including climate bonds, climate friendly equity finance, incentives for bank to provide green loans, carbon markets, and other financial instruments. ENP assistant professor Mattijs Smits hosted a seminar in Wageningen to facilitate an academic and professional dialogue on this urgent and timely topic. The two hour programme was packed with interesting presentations, followed by a plenary discussion.
The meeting was opened by Jack van der Vorst (Board of Directors at Wageningen University & Research) who stressed the importance of the topic and the links to the Wageningen mission and research agenda. Subsequently, Mattijs Smits set the scene on climate finance and carbon markets and the challenges to achieve sustainable development, drawing on his research experience in Southeast Asia.
On behalf of the Chinese delegation, Dr Li Gao (Deputy Director General, Department of Climate Change of the NDRC) talked about how China is integrating climate change into several parts of the economy and gave an update on the plans to develop a nationwide emissions trading system and other climate finance activities. Mr. Ye Yanfei (Senior Inspectorate of the China Banking Regulatory Commission) talked about what China is doing in terms of greening its banking system. Two academics, Prof Dr Wang Yao (Central University of Finance and Economics) and Dr Liang Xi (UK-China (Guangdong) CCUS Centre and Director of Centre for Business and Climate Change at the University of Edinburgh) talked about the differences in sustainable, green and climate finance and the challenges of ensuring stable carbon prices.
Next up were three researchers from Wageningen University who gave very brief (5 min) overviews of their work linked to the seminar. Jeroen van der Heijden (Environmental Policy group) talked about the different possibilities for climate finance in cities, followed by Edwin van der Werf (Economics of Natural Resources and the Environment group) who discussed the economics and challenges of REDD+ and the EU Emissions Trading systems. Nila Kamil (ENP) discussed her comparative research on MRV systems in China, Indonesia and Brazil.
The final block of speakers was led by Karianne de Bruin from Wageningen Environmental Research, who discussed her project on the implications of climate change risk for the financial sector. This was followed by Kay van der Kooi from ING Groenbank, who explained the Dutch system of green loans, its long history and its specific features as public-private partnership. Last but not least, Maxime Molenaar from Actiam, an institutional investor with a Chinese owner, talked about the new developments amongst institutional investors and their contributions to climate/green finance.
All these contributions were positively received by the audience and the Chinese delegation, who mentioned that they also enjoyed the ‘beautiful Wageningen campus’. They were also kind enough to stay for another 20 minutes to discuss with the audience and the rest of the speakers on the various topics covered during the seminar. In addition, plans were made for follow-up activities and projects to be developed in the near future, before the delegation continued on to Schiphol.