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Asia Minute: India tries 'Green Bonds' to fund climate change adjustments

Climate Net Zero Asia
Rafiq Maqbool/AP
A woman grazes her sheep near a solar power plant in Pavagada Tumkur district, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, India, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. India is investing heavily in renewable energy and has committed to producing 50% of its power from clean energy sources by 2030. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

The government of India is raising money to improve resiliency against climate change.

They're doing so with an unusual step — offering sovereign debt as environmentally friendly so-called “green bonds.”

What that means is that they carry a slightly lower interest rate than usual government bond sales and those savings will allow the government to stretch its energy investments a bit further.

There's plenty to spend that money on. India's government wants to increase its non-fossil fuel energy sources to half of the country's installed capacity by 2030.

That's up from its current level of 40%.

Last week, the government ran its first auction of these “green bonds," selling nearly a billion dollars in that first offering.

Reuters reported that buyers were mostly domestic, such as Indian banks and insurance companies.

Because the bonds are offered in Indian rupees, foreign investors concerned about currency risk stayed away from that initial sale.

The Financial Times reported that proceeds from the sales of these environmental bonds will go to projects ranging from climate change adaptation to clean transportation, as well as water and waste management and other areas.

The government's next auction of these green bonds is scheduled for a week from Thursday.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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