More than 180 of the world’s largest investment firms and pension funds
yesterday lent their voices to calls for a global deal to combat climate change
to be agreed at the forthcoming UN conference in Copenhagen,
signing up to a joint statement signalling their support for a robust international treaty built around binding
emission targets and increased investment in clean technologies.
The statement, which comes days ahead of a crucial meeting of world leaders
in New York intended to revitalise the stalled negotiations to agree a successor
to the Kyoto Treaty, is the largest of its kind and has been signed by investors
with more than $13 trillion (£7.8tn) in assets under management.
Speaking at the launch of the joint declaration at an event in New York,
Peter Dunscombe, Chairman of European Institutional Investors Group on Climate
Change (IIGCC), said that a robust deal capable of delivering deep cuts in
carbon emissions would deliver huge benefits to the global investment community.
“To date, investment decision-making has been hampered by weak, disparate and
uncertain policies, as well as short time horizons,” he explained. “The specific
measures we have called for today will provide a much more supportive investment
environment, thus enabling long-term private sector investment and liquidity
essential to address climate change.”
The declaration largely mirrors the position of developing nations currently
involved in the Copenhagen process, calling on industrialised countries to agree
to emission reduction targets of between 80 and 95 per cent by 2050 with interim
targets of 25 to 40 per cent by 2020.
It also calls on developing countries to produce climate change action plans
that will deliver quantifiable cuts in carbon emissions in the medium term, and
proposes an expansion of the global carbon market, reforms to the UN’s carbon
ofsetting scheme the Clean Development Mechanism and increased investment in
clean technologies and forestry protection.
Thomas P DiNapoli, head of the $116.5bn New York State Common Retirement
Fund, said that a robust deal in Copenhagen would help reduce both environmental
and investment risks. “We cannot drag our feet on the issue of global climate
change,” he added. “I am deeply concerned about the investor risks climate
change presents, and the human cost of inaction is unthinkable.”
Mindy S Lubber, director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk, which
co-ordinated the statement, predicted that an international deal would free up
further investment in the already fast expanding clean technology sector. ”
Investors have a crucial role to play in building a low-carbon, energy-efficient
global economy,” she said. “But without strong policies that encourage clean
technologies and discourage high-polluting technologies, their hands are tied.”
The declaration comes amid mounting fears that the long-running talks to
agree a successor to Kyoto are faltering in the run-up to the Copenhagen meeting
in December. The talks are currently deadlocked, with industrialised and poorer
nations divided on how emission cuts should be shared and the US and EU divided
on how the new treaty should be structured.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has positioned next week’s meeting of world
leaders as a last ditch attempt to break the deadlock and reach a compromise
position that will allow the talks to proceed.
Author: James Murray