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Trillion-dollar investors seek climate action ahead of G7 Summit

Some 288 institutional investors with $26 trillion in assets under management have issued a new call to climate action to governments, albeit with the support of the UN.

Patricia Espinosa-Investors
Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change (second right), with some of the representatives of the institutional investors at the meeting in London

In a statement issued ahead of the upcoming G7 Summit in Canada and presented to Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, in London on Monday, June 4, 2018, the investors urged governments to step up their level of ambition to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“We are concerned that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is currently falling short of the agreed goal of ‘holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” the investors said.

“The global shift to clean energy is underway, but much more needs to be done by governments to accelerate the low carbon transition and to improve the resilience of our economy, society and the financial system to climate risks,” they add.

Espinosa, on her part, spoke about the dramatically accelerating climate change impacts around the world and issued a passionate call to action, saying: “We can invest in the status quo, exploiting everything we can from the earth, knowing it will poison our air, our water and our very existence on this planet. Or we can invest in the future and capitalise on the fact that we are standing at the precipice of nothing less than one of the greatest transformational eras of modern times an era increasingly driven by clean technology, fuelled by renewable energy, and supported by a new economy.”

She pointed out that leveraging private finance to fund the transition to a low-emissions and low-carbon future in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement is a necessity, and one that public administrations cannot afford to do on their own. She called on investors to engage with national governments more directly on climate policies and how investors can contribute to the implementation of the agreement at the country level.

“While resources are available and investors like you have the vision, the majority of the developing countries do not receive significant amounts of investment flows for the implementation of their national climate action plans. Get in touch with the right ministries, the right people in charge of the programs and policies – the people who can affect real change, and specially with the people who right now are saying that finance is not available to them,” she told the investors meeting in London.

In the 2018 “Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change” presented to Patricia Espinosa, investors note that they continue to make significant investments into the low-carbon transition across a range of asset classes, and increasingly incorporate climate change scenarios and climate risk management strategies into their investment processes, while engaging with the largest greenhouse gas emitters.

Specifically, investors are asking world governments to:

  • Achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement
  • Accelerate private sector investment into the low carbon transition
  • Commit to improve climate-related financial reporting

The Investor Agenda calls on global investors to accelerate and scale up the actions that are critical to tackling climate change and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. It is a comprehensive agenda for investors to manage climate risks and capture low-carbon opportunities, and a mechanism to report on their progress in four key focus areas: Investment, Corporate Engagement, Investor Disclosure and Policy Advocacy.

The agenda has been developed byAsia Investor Group on Climate Change,CDP​,Cere​s​,​​Investor Group on Climate Change,​​Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change​,​​ Principles for Responsible Investment  ​and​ UNEP Finance Initiative​.

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