LOS ANGELES — California Treasurer John Chiang said he plans to travel across the country to meet municipal bond retailers, environment-friendly investors and large investment funds as he prepares to ratchet up the state's green bond issuance.
He already has meetings scheduled in January in San Francisco, New York City, Boston and Chicago.
"Greater use of green bonds could provide a secure and growing funding stream for governments and private industries to meet the challenge of curbing climate pollution," Chiang said in a prepared statement Monday.
Those critical goals, he said, were underscored earlier this month in a landmark agreement signed in Paris by nearly 200 nations, including the world's two biggest greenhouse gas emitters: China and the United States.
Chiang also released a report on Monday that laid out how the state spent the $291 million in green bonds issued last year – the state's initial foray into green bonds.
The bulk of the GOs were used for mass transit projects in Los Angeles County and San Francisco. Other proceeds are being used to reduce harmful emissions from heavy trucks throughout the state.
Smaller amounts are earmarked for clean water, protection of rivers, lakes and streams and forest and wildlife conservation. About $8.4 million from last year's bond sale remains to be disbursed.
The volume of green bond sales increased exponentially. As of Dec. 17, green bond volume had increased 48% year-over-year to $4.27 billion from $2.88 billion in 2014, which was up from $693 million in 2013, according to data from Thomson Reuters.
The treasurer's office cited an article in EconoTimes, an economics and business website, in saying they don't think issuance has reached a critical mass of the bond market. The bonds currently constitute only 4.6% of $80 trillion in outstanding global fixed income securities, EconoTimes reported.
More analysis, fine-tuning and market research needs to be done before a green bond market can really take off, said Chiang.
"We want to see what we can do at the California State Treasurer's Office to unlock the potential of the green bond market and create a bigger market for these investment tools," Chiang said.