One of Guernsey’s leading voices on climate change and renewable energy is heading to this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to champion the island as a green and sustainable finance centre.
Thousands of people, including leaders of most of the world's richest nations, are at the Conference in Glasgow to discuss how the world should respond to existential threats caused by climate change.
Guernsey is represented at COP26 by Deputies Lindsay De Sausmarez and Jonathon Le Tocq. They will spend much of their time in Glasgow promoting the island as a key finance centre in the fight against climate change and will also learn from the ideas and proposals of others at the conference.
“There are two sides to this - what we can give and what we can get out of it,” said Deputy De Sausmarez.
“I think it is really important that Guernsey is represented on the global stage and it is a really good opportunity for us to be able to promote the things that Guernsey does well in respect of climate change.”
Pictured: “One of the most significant things that lots of other jurisdictions and organisations are keen to understand about Guernsey is our role as a green and sustainable finance centre,” said Deputy De Sausmarez ahead of representing the island at COP26.
'Green finance’ is any financial activity organised in a way which has beneficial outcomes for the environment. In recent years, Guernsey has developed its profile and reputation as a green finance leader.
“We’re on a global transition from the brown economy, which is underpinned by fossil fuels, to the green economy, which is underpinned by renewable energy and circular economy and sustainability principles,” said Deputy De Sausmarez.
“It requires a global change and that requires an awful lot of money. Governments don’t have enough to do it on their own, so we need to mobilise private capital as well.
“That’s where Guernsey’s role as a green and sustainable finance centre comes in. It’s a really important global contribution to tackling climate change.”
Pictured: COP26 will run until 12 November.
The Deputies' visit to COP26 comes at a time when the Paris climate agreement is on the States' policy agenda.
“We’ve been actively negotiating the extension of the Paris agreement to Guernsey in our own right,” said Deputy De Sausmarez.
In the States' debate on the 2022 Budget, there was criticism of the Policy & Resources Committee for relying heavily on fuel duty for revenue at a time when people are being encouraged to move to electric vehicles for environmental reasons.
“We hope we will be able to find a compromise between Policy & Resources' fiscal objectives and Environment & Infrastructure's carbon emissions objectives,” said Deputy De Sausmarez.
Pictured: Deputy Le Tocq arrived at COP26 yesterday.
P&RC is investigating a pilot scheme which could see car users charged for distance as opposed to being taxed on fuel.
“The States have acknowledged, through various policies, including in relation to the taxation of motoring, that fiscal reliance on fossil fuels is not sustainable,” said P&RC's Treasury Lead, Deputy Mark Helyar.
“The Policy & Resources Committee has now agreed with the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure that it will take the lead on progressing the distance-charging pilot and balancing the need for fiscal sustainability with transport policy.”
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