Last month the UN Climate Summit took place in New York, arguably the most significant event for global cooperation on climate change since Paris 2015.
The Conference was much anticipated with the recent publications of alarming reports from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change); the numerous young climate strikes all over the world as well as the mediatized presence of Greta Thunberg. However, little came from the bigger emitters. The UN secretary-general had lobbied for countries to come with concrete commitments, the bar was set high. While there were many ambitious new commitments to note, many of the largest economies were notably absent – USA, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Argentina and Mexico – did not make statements, and India and China made largely empty statements focusing on the necessary financial support from developed countries for efforts made in both countries.
The most notable positive changes were Russia finally announcing that it will formally join the Paris Agreement (Russia is the 4th largest global CO2 emitter) and also Germany joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance while also announcing a $60bn climate package.
While national commitments disappointed, the private sector was galvanized with new commitments such as Danish pension funds led by PKA pledging an additional $50bn in investment for green solutions by 2030 and global banks committing to climate testing $3 trillion of assets.
Regarding our own commitment, we have been signatory to the Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change (attached). The statement is an open letter to the “governments of the world” signed by up to now 515 investors managing over $35 trillion in assets. It is the largest-ever group of investors to call on governments to back more ambitious climate goals and to strengthen their Paris Agreement targets by 2020; to support a just transition to a low carbon economy and phase out thermal coal power and fossil fuels subsidies by set deadlines; to set a robust global carbon price by 2020; and finally to improve climate-related financial reporting in line with the TCFD recommendations .
By signing this statement, we demonstrate our concerns with other investors that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is currently below the agreed target and a call for a better collaboration between governments and investors to incorporate the Paris 2°C scenario into policy framework and energy transition pathways.
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