Governments have accepted the need for a global shift to low-carbon investment, but the challenge is huge

London's famous black cabs are going green. Last year Transport for London finalised a measure that requires all new cabs to be electric or hybrid vehicles from 1 January 2018. The requirement will extend to all private-hire minicabs from 2023.

Cabbies are being given financial incentives to decommission older black cabs and to replace them with “zero-emissions capable” vehicles. The aim is for rapid transformation, with 9,000 by 2020, out of a total of about 21,000 black cabs in London.

The move has proved a big green investment opportunity. Black cabs are manufactured by the London Taxi Company at a plant in Coventry. To pay for the switch to zero-emission models, the London Taxi Company's owner, China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, raised $400m via a green bond issue. The bond was six times oversubscribed, with a final order book of more than $2.3bn.

The bond's success showed that there is demand for the type of investment that is needed if decarbonisation is to succeed. When regulators act decisively to make fossil-fuel intensive ways of doing business more expensive, or to outlaw them completely, money flows to less-polluting alternatives.

For many years, governments showed only limited willingness to put in place such regulations. The...

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green finance  low-carbon  zero emissions  climate change  solar energy 

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