Environmentalists are increasingly investing in “green bonds” to avoid supporting fossil fuel development and aid its cleaner competitors, but the strategy might be backfiring. “Green bonds” are financial securities that fund renewable energy projects such as wind farms or solar plants. Interest in the bonds has soared in the past half-decade, from totaling around $10 billion in 2013 to around $161 billion in 2017, The Wall Street Journal reports.
As the bonds have risen in popularity, so too has misleading and fraudulent advertising of the investments. The environmental watchdog group Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) cut out more than a fifth of its $114.2 billion portfolio in 2018. Many investments advertised as “clean” or “renewable” actually channel funds to oil, gas and coal plants. The worst offenders are located in China and developing countries.