President Donald Trump’s (R) Administration was at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) where it was pushing for coal-fired power, but fewer people are buying it. In fact a global group of 415 investors managing $32 trillion in assets called on governments to end coal energy and tax carbon.
The investor group, known as the Investor Agenda, issued the “2018 Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change” during COP24, noting that there is an ‘ambition gap’ on governments taking action on climate change. It called on governments around the world to strengthen their commitments to meet their Paris Agreement emissions reductions and to strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions under the agreement.
The statement included a wide swath of investors, insurers, and other organizations like the New York State Common Retirement Fund. That $207 billion pension fund is managed by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
“Despite the misguided policies of the Trump Administration, global efforts to address the very real threat climate risk presents to the economy, financial markets and investment returns are ongoing,” DiNapoli said.
“At the New York State Common Retirement Fund, we are still in and remain committed to supporting the Paris Agreement's climate goals.” That’s despite Trump infamously becoming the only world leader to retroactively pull the US out of the agreement. “The transition to a low carbon economy presents numerous opportunities to create value, and investors who ignore the changing world do so at their own peril,” DiNapoli stated.
DiNapoli and other signatories to the statement are calling on governments to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals to keep global warming to below 2°C and transition the world to a low-carbon economy.
They called on governments to accelerate private sector investments in a low-carbon economy including putting a “meaningful price on carbon,” eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and phasing out coal plants. They also called on governments to improve climate-related financial reporting, like the recent climate report issued by Trump's Administration over Thanksgiving weekend.
“The reality is that the long-term nature of the challenge has, in our view, met a zombie like response by many,” contended Chris Newton, executive director of Responsible Investment at IFM Investors, which manages $81 billion in assets. “This is a recipe for disaster as the impacts of climate change can be sudden, severe and catastrophic. We need our infrastructure assets to continue to provide essential services to communities and economies around the world. We have a duty to our investors to act for the long term when others are clearly sidestepping the challenge.”
The agenda was developed by numerous groups including the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, CDP, Ceres, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, the Investor Group on Climate Change, Principles for Responsible Investment and UNEP Finance Initiative. Without action signatories warned that there could be long-run temperature rises of around 4°C.Tweet