California Municipal Green Bond Issuance Passes $5 Billion: New US Green Finance Record

Golden State Makes Muni Green Finance Record - First to Reach $5 Billion 


What's it all about? 

Latest Climate Bonds Initiative analysis of US municipal green bond issuance shows California has just topped $5bn, the first state to reach the milestone and setting a new US record.

Issuance reached $5.03bn following the close of the $171.4m Climate Bonds Certified Transbay Transit Centre bond for the City and County of San Francisco.

California currently leads US Municipal green issuance on bonds that have closed, followed closely by New York State on $4.73bn, Massachusetts on $2.83bn, Washington State at $1.9bn, with Connecticut, Indiana, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois & Ohio all under $1bn (Top 10 ranking below).   

Green issuers have ranged from large institutions including IBank to smaller issuers such as the Trinity Public Utilities District and Midpeninsula Open Space District (Full list below).

A growing number of California issuers have also followed international best practice in gaining Climate Bonds Certification for their green issuance, including Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), SFPUC and Los Angeles MTA.


Who's saying what

State Treasurer John Chiang:

“California has long been a national standard bearer in areas ranging from advancing civil rights to protecting our natural resources. In that same vein, the State of California and its municipalities lead the U.S. in the use of green bonds, raising more than $5 billion in affordable capital to both curb climate change and build critical infrastructure.”

“The achievement is laudable but not enough considering how the United States still lags behind Europe, Asia, and South America in taking advantage of climate-friendly green bonds to finance the conversion of a fossil-fuel based economy to a carbon-free alternative.”

“I am working to change that equation by hosting a major green bonds symposium in February. I am assembling the nation’s foremost experts to come up with ways to turbocharge this innovative, new market, with an eye toward unlocking its latent potential to pay for billions of dollars in investments to protect our planet from global warming.”


Justine Leigh-Bell, Director of Market Development Climate Bonds Initiative:

“Capital flows are moving in the right direction from diverse municipal issuers of every size across the state. The focus on water, energy and waste is very encouraging. The challenge now is to increase the number of green issuers across the state and encourage repeat issuance.”

“Our previous data at the end of Quarter 3 had New York State in front, but California has just nudged ahead to reach the landmark $5bn figure for municipal green bonds. The foundation is there to lead US states again and be first to reach $10bn."

“We expect the State Treasurer’s February 2018 Green Bonds Symposium and Governor Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit later in 2018 will both provide sub national, national and international momentum around green investment to address climate change.”



The Full Tables and Charts:


Chart 1.



Table 1.



Table 2.

California Municipal Green Bond Issuance Total: USD5.03bn as of 27.11.2017

Issuer name


Amount Issued USD

Use of Proceeds according to

Climate Bonds’ Taxonomy

Climate Bonds Certified

State of California

October 2014


Energy Efficiency, Transport, Water, Land Use, Adaptation


San Francisco Public

Utilities Commission

May 2015


Energy, Energy Efficiency


City of Los Angeles

June 2015




East Bay Municipal Utility


June 2015


Clean energy, Water, Adaptation


City of Los Angeles

June 2015




San Diego Unified

School District

January 2016


Clean energy, Energy Efficiency, Water, Waste Management, Adaptation


California Infrastructure and Economic Dev Bank (IBank)

April 2016




San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)

May 2016




San Diego County Water Authority

June 2016




Midpeninsula Open Space District

September 2016


Land Use, Adaptation


Port of Los Angeles

October 2016


Energy Efficiency, Adaptation


City of Napa

October 2016


Waste Management


Los Angeles County Sanitation District

November 2016


Water, Adaptation


San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

December 2016




California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank)

March 2017




California Health Facilities Financing Authority

May 2017


Energy efficiency


City of Los Angeles

May 2017




San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)

June 2017




California Pollution

Control Financing Authority

June 2017


Waste management


East Bay Municipal Utility


June 2017




City of Long Beach

June 2017


Clean energy, Energy efficiency


Fremont Union High School District

July 2017


Energy efficiency


Santa Monica Public Financing Authority

September 2017


Energy efficiency


Los Angeles MTA

October 2017




San Diego Unified School District

November 2017


Clean energy, Energy Efficiency, Water, Waste Management, Adaptation


Trinity Public Utilities District

November 2017


Clean energy


City & County of San Francisco

November 2017




TOTAL cumulative issuance as of 27/11/2017 USD5.03bn


The Last Word 

We can see the East Coast-West Coast effect we noted in our Quarter 3 Newsletter is set to continue, with more Certified muni green bond issuance slated for California and a huge Certified green issuance from New York MTA due to close in Mid December. 

Meantime there's some 2018 momentum brewing on the West Coast. California State Treasurer John Chiang is convening a two day Green Bond Symposium on Feb 27-28, 2018 in partnership with the Milken Institute and Environmental Finance, in Santa Monica. He's been an active voice on green finance for some time now. 

Later in the year Governor Gerry Brown will hold a Global Climate Action Summit in conjunction with the UNFCCC & other climate action leaders from September 12-14, 2018 in San Francisco.

We're hoping the February event in Santa Monica will spur a wider understanding and commitment to green municipal issuance, not just in California but across more of the lower 48.

There's no doubt the Global Climate Action Summit will also have an impact. Blog readers who watch the calendars closely will have noted that Governor Browns' event coincides with around 1,200 signatories to the PRI in Person 2018 conference being in town. 

That's a lot of asset owners and managers to push the climate investment action message at. 

Well done to California for leading the league ladder in November 2017 and leaders like Chiang and Brown for setting up the US sub-national agenda in 2018. 


'Till next time,

Climate Bonds 



Note: Green Bond Figures: All figures quoted are for labelled municipal green bonds that have closed and are accurate as of 30/11/2017.

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