631 institutional investors managing more than $37 trillion in assets urged governments to step up efforts to tackle the global climate crisis in a statement issued on Monday at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP25).
The Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change, developed by the seven founding partners of The Investor Agenda, urges governments to phase out thermal coal power, put a meaningful price on carbon pollution, end subsidies for fossil fuels and update and strengthen nationally-determined contributions to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“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,” the investors wrote. They warned the current government commitments leave an “ambition gap” that will not prevent global average temperature from rising beyond the 1.5 degree threshold that scientists warn could trigger catastrophic and irreversible effects of climate change.
The investor call to action was highlighted by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his remarks to Heads of State and Government at COP25. “I see the business community and the finance community very active,” he said.
The Investor Agenda was launched in 2018 by seven Founding Partners – Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, CDP, Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, Principles for Responsible Investment and UNEP Finance Initiative.
“Investors with $37 trillion in assets under management calling for our government leaders to act quickly and boldly on the global climate crisis is quite extraordinary,” noted Mindy Lubber, Ceres CEO and President. “With the immense influence that these investors hold in our economy, government leaders ought to respond to this collective call to action with the urgency and ambition required to power a net-zero emissions economy.”
Nearly 1,200 investors have taken action in one or more of its focus areas since 2018, says The Investor Agenda. More than 750 investors have engaged with or directly influenced companies to act on climate change, more than 400 investors have stepped up their own disclosure on climate change, and more than 260 investors have set a climate target for their investments.
Data for a Global Stocktake
Focused breakout sessions at the COP25 data workshop resulted in draft plans for a framework for tracking individual and cooperative action. The intention is that these plans will be ready for delivery at COP26 in Glasgow at the end of next year. For the period 2020 to 2023, the main objective is to develop globally-applicable and quantifiable metrics that will guide a Global Stocktake of climate action. They will include emissions reductions, carbon price, 1.5/2°C alignment and net zero metrics. The data community working on supporting climate action comprises 30+ organizations – including Yale and Oxford universities, The Climate Group, CDP and UN Environment (UNEP).
Science Community Report
The science community at COP25 has released “10 New Insights in Climate Science 2019.” According to the report, the world is not on track to cut greenhouse gas emissions as agreed under the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and climate change is happening faster and stronger than expected, with severe implications notably for food security. The report highlights the most recent advances over the last 12 months in the scientific understanding of the drivers, effects and impacts of climate change, as well as societal responses.
The report is available here.