Thursday, September 17, 2009

Global Investors Call For Strong Climate Change Action This Year

Sep 16: The world’s largest global investors have issued a joint call for strong action this year from U.S. and international policy makers in the fight against global warming. Their call comes a day after a similar call from more than 600 conservation, outdoor, sportsmen, recreation and faith groups who urged the U.S. Senate to act quickly on climate change legislation [See WIMS 9/16/09]. Amid growing focus on upcoming international climate treaty talks and Congressional debate of climate and energy legislation, global investors meeting at an all-day International Investor Forum on Climate Change in New York City, issued a major policy statement calling for a strong and binding international treaty that will reduce pollution and catalyze massive global investments in low-carbon technologies. Signed by 181 investors collectively managing more than $13 trillion in assets, the investor statement is the largest of its kind on climate change in world history.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, head of the $116.5 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund said, “We must chart a new course toward long-term, sustainable business practices. We cannot drag our feet on the issue of global climate change. I am deeply concerned about the investor risks climate change presents, and the human cost of inaction is unthinkable. As investors in the global economy, we can lead the way toward a future of lasting prosperity.” Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres and director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk, which co-convened the forum said, “Investors have a crucial role to play in building a low-carbon, energy efficient global economy. But without strong policies that encourage clean technologies and discourage high-polluting technologies, their hands are tied.”

The forum comes in advance of key negotiations in Copenhagen this December to ratify a new international climate change treaty after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. The outcome of those climate talks depends heavily on the course of debates in the U.S. Congress on climate and energy legislation. The House passed a comprehensive bill in June and Senate consideration of a similar climate bill is expected to begin within weeks. However, there is a certain amount of skepticism as to whether the Senate will act on the legislation this year. Senate Majority Leader Harry has hinted that the Senate could delay action until next year due to multiple competing priorities. Additionally, Department of Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, has indicated that the Copenhagen meeting may not be the end-all opportunity and that “We can come back in two to four years’ time.” [See WIMS 9/16/09].

Among other items, the investor's statement calls for a global climate change treaty to include a global target for emissions reductions of 50-85% by 2050 (1990 baseline); developed country emissions reduction targets of 80-95% by 2050 with interim targets of 25-40% by 2020 backed up by effective national action plans; and public financing mechanisms that leverage private sector finance for investment in developing countries.

The Investor Forum was sponsored by the New York State Comptroller, Ceres, the European Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the Investors Group on Climate Change (IGCC) Australia/New Zealand, the P8 Group, and UNEP Financial Initiative.

Access a release from the investors (
click here). Access the call for action statement and list of signers (click here).