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Financing the green transition


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Climate financing mechanism, institutions and development in news

Mains level: Issues related to climate financing

Central Idea

  • The National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID) plays a crucial role in alleviating the challenges associated with implementing the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) and financing projects in the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP). While NaBFID has made significant strides in disbursing loans to address India’s infrastructure needs, certain areas warrant careful consideration to ensure sustainable and climate-resilient development

Relevance of the topic

Climate finance for sustainable infrastructure and low carbon economy

What is National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID)?

  • The National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID) is a specialized financial institution established by the Government of India.
  • NaBFID is responsible for providing financial assistance, loans, and credit facilities to infrastructure projects across sectors such as transportation, energy, water and sanitation, urban development, and social infrastructure.
  • It focuses on supporting projects that contribute to sustainable development, climate resilience, and inclusive growth.
  • One of the key objectives of NaBFID is to implement the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) and finance projects outlined in the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP).

Financial risks associated with climate change

  • Physical Risks: These risks are associated with the direct impact of climate change on physical assets and infrastructure. They include:
  1. Property Damage: Increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like hurricanes, floods, and wildfires can cause significant damage to properties, leading to financial losses for property owners and insurers.
  2. Supply Chain Disruptions: Climate-related events can disrupt supply chains, causing delays, shortages, and increased costs for businesses.
  3. Asset Devaluation: Physical assets, such as properties located in areas prone to sea-level rise or extreme weather events, may lose value due to the increased risk associated with climate change impacts.
  • Transition Risks: These risks arise from the transition to a low-carbon economy and the efforts to mitigate climate change. They include:
  1. Policy and Regulatory Changes: Governments implementing stricter environmental regulations or imposing carbon pricing mechanisms can impact the profitability and viability of certain industries, leading to financial losses for companies.
  2. Technology Disruptions: Rapid advancements in clean energy technologies and shifts away from carbon-intensive industries can render certain assets, such as fossil fuel reserves or outdated infrastructure, economically obsolete.
  3. Market Shifts: Changing consumer preferences and investor sentiment towards sustainability can result in shifts in market demand, affecting the profitability and market value of companies operating in carbon-intensive sectors.
  • Liability Risks: These risks arise from legal and financial liabilities associated with climate change impacts. They include:
  1. Litigation and Legal Actions: Companies, particularly those in high-emission sectors, may face lawsuits and legal actions for their contribution to climate change or for inadequate adaptation measures.
  2. Insurance Claims: Increasing frequency and severity of climate-related events can lead to higher insurance claims, putting pressure on insurance companies and potentially increasing premiums for policyholders.
  3. Investor Lawsuits: Investors may file lawsuits against companies for failing to disclose climate-related risks, misrepresenting their environmental performance, or mismanaging climate-related risks, potentially resulting in financial settlements.

What is the need for Financing the green transition?

  • Mitigating Climate Change: The transition to a low-carbon and sustainable economy is essential for mitigating the impacts of climate change. Green financing enables the deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency measures, and other sustainable technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By redirecting financial resources towards green projects, we can accelerate the decarbonization of various sectors and limit global warming.
  • Transitioning to a Sustainable Future: Green financing supports the development and implementation of sustainable practices across sectors. It promotes investments in clean energy, sustainable infrastructure, circular economy models, and environmentally friendly technologies. Financing the green transition is necessary to shift from resource-intensive and polluting practices towards more sustainable and resilient systems.
  • Fostering Innovation and Economic Growth: Green financing stimulates innovation and drives economic growth. Investments in renewable energy, energy-efficient technologies, and sustainable infrastructure create new markets, industries, and job opportunities. It encourages research and development of cutting-edge technologies, positioning countries and businesses at the forefront of the green economy.
  • Managing Environmental and Social Risks: Financing the green transition helps manage environmental and social risks associated with unsustainable practices. It supports projects that prioritize environmental stewardship, protect biodiversity, and promote social inclusivity. By integrating environmental and social considerations into financing decisions, we can mitigate negative impacts on ecosystems, communities, and vulnerable populations.
  • Meeting Sustainable Development Goals: Green financing is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It supports the achievement of goals such as affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, and biodiversity conservation. Financing projects that contribute to the SDGs is essential for creating a more equitable and sustainable future for all.
  • Addressing Investor Demand and Risk Management: Increasingly, investors are demanding sustainable and responsible investment options. Green financing provides opportunities for investors to align their portfolios with environmental objectives and sustainability targets. It also helps manage financial risks associated with climate change and unsustainable practices by redirecting investments towards climate-resilient assets and projects.
  • International Commitments and Agreements: Many countries have committed to international agreements like the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Financing the green transition is essential for countries to meet their climate commitments and contribute to global efforts to combat climate change.

How India is financing its green transition?

  • International Climate Finance: India has been accessing international climate finance, including funds from multilateral development banks, climate funds, and bilateral partnerships. These funds support the implementation of climate mitigation and adaptation projects in India. For example, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has provided financial assistance to India for renewable energy, sustainable urban development, and climate-resilient agriculture.
  • National Clean Energy and Environmental Funds: India has established national funds to support the green transition. The National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) was created to finance clean energy initiatives, energy efficiency projects, and research and development. Additionally, the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) supports climate adaptation and resilience projects.
  • Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions: Indian banks and financial institutions are increasingly incorporating green financing into their portfolios. They provide loans, credit facilities, and investment products for renewable energy projects, energy efficiency initiatives, and sustainable infrastructure development. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also encouraged banks to prioritize lending to the renewable energy sector.
  • Green Bonds: India has witnessed a growth in green bond issuances, which enable the mobilization of capital specifically for climate-friendly projects. Indian entities, including government-backed institutions, corporations, and municipalities, have issued green bonds to finance renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable infrastructure projects. The success of India’s sovereign green bond issuance has paved the way for further green bond investments in the country.
  • International Cooperation and Partnerships: India collaborates with international partners to attract green investments and promote technology transfer. Collaborative initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance (ISA) aim to mobilize funding and facilitate the deployment of solar energy projects in India and other member countries.
  • Renewable Energy Certificates and Incentives: The Indian government has implemented mechanisms such as Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and feed-in tariffs to incentivize renewable energy generation. RECs provide financial benefits to renewable energy producers, encouraging investment in clean energy projects.
  • Energy Efficiency Financing: India has implemented various financing schemes to promote energy efficiency in industries, buildings, and the transportation sector. Initiatives like the Perform, Achieve, and Trade (PAT) scheme provide financial incentives and market-based mechanisms to encourage energy efficiency improvements.
  • Collaborative Programs and Funds: India participates in collaborative programs and funds such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund (CTF). These platforms provide financial resources and technical assistance to support India’s green transition projects

Loopholes in National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP)

  • Insufficient Integration of Climate Resilience: The NIP’s focus on traditional grey infrastructure and limited integration of green and blue infrastructure is a significant loophole.
  • Lack of Detailed Sectoral Needs Assessment: The NIP needs a more comprehensive and detailed assessment of sectoral needs to ensure that investments are targeted in the most critical areas. Without a thorough analysis of sector-specific requirements, there is a risk of misallocation of resources and insufficient prioritization of key infrastructure projects.
  • Inadequate Private Sector Engagement: While the NIP recognizes the importance of public-private partnerships (PPPs), the experience with PPPs in India has been mixed. There have been instances of cost overruns, delays, and disputes in PPP projects.
  • Limited Focus on Rural Infrastructure: The NIP primarily emphasizes urban infrastructure development, potentially neglecting the critical needs of rural areas. Addressing the infrastructure deficit in rural regions, including connectivity, healthcare facilities, and education, is essential for equitable development and inclusive growth.
  • Financing Challenges: While NaBFID has made progress in disbursing loans, the flow of funds to sustainable projects and addressing climate-related challenges remains a significant hurdle. There is a need to enhance expertise in evaluating climate risks, correlating them with financial risks, and quantifying them accurately.
  • Limited Transparency and Accountability: Ensuring transparency and accountability in the implementation of the NIP is vital. Clear monitoring and reporting mechanisms should be established to track project progress, expenditure, and outcomes.

Way forward

  • Refine and Strengthen Mandate: NaBFID should refine its mandate to explicitly prioritize sustainable and climate-resilient infrastructure projects. This would provide a clear direction and enhance its impact on India’s green transition.
  • Enhance Risk Management: NaBFID should continue to enhance its risk assessment and management capabilities. This includes integrating climate risk assessments, considering environmental and social risks, and adopting best practices for sustainable infrastructure financing.
  • Foster Public-Private Partnerships: NaBFID should actively engage with the private sector and foster partnerships to attract private investments and leverage their expertise. This can be done through transparent and streamlined processes, risk-sharing mechanisms, and collaborative project planning.
  • Promote Innovation and Technology: NaBFID can encourage innovation and the deployment of advanced technologies in infrastructure projects. This includes supporting research and development, promoting technology transfer, and incentivizing the adoption of clean and sustainable solutions.
  • Strengthen Environmental and Social Safeguards: NaBFID should enforce robust environmental and social safeguards to ensure that infrastructure projects adhere to sustainable practices, respect community rights, and minimize negative impacts on ecosystems and vulnerable populations.
  • Embrace Digitalization: NaBFID can leverage digital technologies to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and improve monitoring and evaluation of infrastructure projects. This can include the use of data analytics, remote monitoring, and digital platforms for project management.


  • To achieve sustainable and climate-resilient infrastructure development, NaBFID must address the gaps in integrating climate risk, enhance transparency and mainstream sustainability, and navigate the challenges associated with financial risks. By focusing on structural measures, engaging the private sector effectively, and harnessing innovative financial products, NaBFID can play a pivotal role in driving climate-resilient investments and integrating nature into decision-making processes

Also read:

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM): A Flawed Approach to Climate Finance


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