Some of the world’s largest pension funds, insurance companies and asset managers, including Schroders, Aberdeen Standard Investments and Legal & General Investment Management, have signed a statement on climate change as the United Nation’s COP24 global climate change conference in Katowice, Poland enters its second week.
The group highlights the “ambition gap” that exists between governments’ commitments and what is required to limit global warming to below 2˚C, and ensure the necessary transition to a low-carbon economy.
Specific policies being called for in the statement include phasing out thermal coal power, putting a meaningful price on carbon and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
The group is therefore demanding governments prioritise achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals, accelerating private sector investment in the low-carbon transition and committing to improving climate-related financial reporting.
“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,” signatories to the statement said.
Investors face off against Trump over coal
To address the phasing out of thermal coal power, the group also encouraged governments to embrace the Powering Past Coal Alliance which was launched by the UK and Canada to drive the global move from burning coal to cleaner power sources. The alliance has 28 national governments as signatories, as well as nine states across the US.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli of the $207bn New York State Common Retirement Fund said: “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.
“At New York State Common Retirement Fund, we are still in and remain committed to supporting the Paris Agreement’s climate goals. The transition to a low carbon economy presents numerous opportunities to create value and investors who ignore the congaing world do so at their own peril.”
The White House has sent representatives from the coal and fossil fuel industries to represent the US at the COP24 event.