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400+ investors with more than $24 trillion support Paris climate agreement

Repost from Ceres – Mobilizing Business Leadership for a Sustainable World

Leading Investors and Businesses Back A Strong Paris Climate Agreement

By Christopher N. Fox

The UN climate conference now underway in Paris represents a critical opportunity to limit the risks of climate change and accelerate the shift to clean energy.  That’s why Ceres and leading investors and businesses are in Paris making the economic case for a strong global climate agreement. Together, we are focused on the dual objectives of addressing climate risks by ratcheting down reliance on high carbon resources, on the one hand, while simultaneously seizing the Clean Trillion opportunity tied to clean energy investment and transition, on the other.

Record investor and business support

As the Paris negotiations officially have kicked off, over 400 investors with more than $24 trillion in assets released a statement [see column at right] calling for an ambitious global agreement on climate change.  That’s the largest-ever group of investors calling for strong government action on climate change.  Investors are publicizing their clean energy investments through the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change’s Low-Carbon Investment Registry, and announcing other actions they are taking on climate change through the new Investor Platform for Climate Actions.

In addition, more than 1,600 companies have signed Ceres’ Climate Declaration; 147 companies have signed the White House Act on Climate Business Pledge; six major U.S. banks released a statement calling for a strong climate deal; and the CEOs of 14 major food companies have launched a high profile climate pledge.  And thousands of businesses worldwide are joining forces with the We Mean Business Coalition in support of climate policy action.

Tackling climate change is a multi-trillion dollar opportunity

Combating climate change requires rapid, large-scale shifting from fossil fuels to clean energy.  This transition to clean energy is a multi-trillion dollar opportunity.  To limit warming to below two degrees Celsius – a key goal of the Paris climate talks – the International Energy Agency estimates the world needs to invest an additional $40 trillion in clean energy by 2050.  That’s slightly more than an additional $1 trillion invested in clean energy – a “Clean Trillion” – per year for the next 35 years.

The Paris climate talks are catalyzing important momentum toward the Clean Trillion goal.  The national climate plans that almost every nation in the world has submitted to the UN can spur $13.5 trillion in investment in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies between 2015 and 2030, according to a recent IEA analysis.

Much more action needed after Paris

A strong Paris climate agreement will accelerate the transition to clean energy, but much more action will be needed in the years ahead to limit warming to below two degrees Celsius.  In the months after Paris, the most important single step that the U.S. can take to lead on climate change is to implement the EPA Clean Power Plan, the first-ever nationwide limits on carbon pollution from electric power plants.  This US plan for boosting electric sector clean energy transition is a critically important step for the climate and the economy, as recognized by leading voices in the business community — more than 365 companies and investors announced their support for the plan in a July 2015 lettercoordinated by Ceres.

As aptly noted by Letitia Webster, senior director of global sustainability at VF Corporation, a North Carolina-based apparel company whose brands include The North Face, Timberland and Reef, “The Clean Power Plan will enable us to continue to invest in clean energy solutions and further advance our greenhouse gas reduction goals.”

And as Mars, Inc. Global Sustainability Director Kevin Rabinovitch points out, “It’s going to take action from all of us … For businesses like Mars, that means delivering on efficiency and renewable energy; for the EPA and state governors, that means developing and delivering against initiatives like the Clean Power Plan.”

Both VF Corporation and Mars are represented as part of the delegation of business and investor leaders that Ceres is bringing to the Paris climate talks to support strong climate policy action. By backing a strong Paris climate agreement and the EPA Clean Power Plan, leading investors and businesses are making a smart business decision.  They are supporting policies that will expand investment in the clean energy technologies that the world needs to stabilize the climate and promote a sustainable economy and world.

To learn more about Ceres plans for COP21 in Paris, and what actions leading investor and business leaders have been taking on the road through Paris click here.

Repost from Investor Platform for Climate Actions

Global Investor Statement on Climate Change - groupsGLOBAL INVESTOR STATEMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE

This statement is signed by 404 investors representing more than US $24 trillion in assets.

We, the institutional investors that are signatories to this Statement, are acutely aware of the risks climate change presents to our investments. In addition, we recognise that significant capital will be needed to finance the transition to a low carbon economy and to enable society to adapt to the physical impacts of climate change.

We are particularly concerned that gaps, weaknesses and delays in climate change and clean energy policies will increase the risks to our investments as a result of the physical impacts of climate change, and will increase the likelihood that more radical policy measures will be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In turn, this could jeopardise the investments and retirement savings of millions of citizens.

There is a significant gap between the amount of capital that will be required to finance the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy and the amount currently being invested. For example, while current investments in clean energy alone are approximately $250 billion per year, the International Energy Agency has estimated that limiting the increase in global temperature to two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels requires average additional investments in clean energy of at least $1 trillion per year between now and 2050.

This Statement sets out the contribution that we as investors can make to increasing low carbon and climate resilient investments. It offers practical proposals on how our contribution may be accelerated and increased through appropriate government action.

Stronger political leadership and more ambitious policies are needed in order for us to scale up our investments. We believe that well designed and implemented policies would encourage us to invest significantly more in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable land use and climate resilient development, thereby benefitting our clients and beneficiaries, and society as a whole.

HOW WE CAN CONTRIBUTE

As institutional investors and consistent with our fiduciary duty to our beneficiaries, we will:

Work with policy makers to support and inform their efforts to develop and implement policy measures that encourage capital deployment at scale to finance the transition to a low carbon economy and encourage investment in climate change adaptation.

Identify and evaluate low carbon investment opportunities that meet our investment criteria and consider investment vehicles that invest in low carbon assets subject to our risk and return objectives.

Develop our capacity to assess the risks and opportunities presented by climate change and climate policy to our investment portfolios, and integrate, where appropriate, this information into our investment decisions.

Work with the companies in which we invest to ensure that they are minimising and disclosing the risks and maximising the opportunities presented by climate change and climate policy.

Continue to report on the actions we have taken and the progress we have made in addressing climate risk and investing in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change adaptation.

SCALING UP INVESTMENT: THE NEED FOR POLICY ACTION

We call on governments to develop an ambitious global agreement on climate change by the end of 2015. This would give investors the confidence to support and accelerate the investments in low carbon technologies, in energy efficiency and in climate change adaptation.

Ultimately, in order to deliver real changes in investment flows, international policy commitments need to be implemented into national laws and regulations. These policies must provide appropriate incentives to invest, be of adequate duration to improve certainty to investors in long-term infrastructure investments and avoid retroactive impact on existing investments. We, therefore, call on governments to:

Provide stable, reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing that helps redirect investment commensurate with the scale of the climate change challenge.

Strengthen regulatory support for energy efficiency and renewable energy, where this is needed to facilitate deployment.

Support innovation in and deployment of low carbon technologies, including financing clean energy research and development.

Develop plans to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels.

Ensure that national adaptation strategies are structured to deliver investment.

Consider the effect of unintended constraints from financial regulations on investments in low carbon technologies and in climate resilience.


ABOUT UNEP FI – UNEP FI is a global partnership between UNEP and the financial sector. Over 200 institutions, including banks, insurers and fund managers, work with UNEP to understand the impacts of environmental and social considerations on financial performance. Through its Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG), UNEP FI aims to understand the roles, potentials and needs of the finance sector in addressing climate change, and to advance the integration of climate change factors – both risks and opportunities – into financial decision-making. Visit www.unepfi.org.

ABOUT IIGCC – The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) is a forum for collaboration on climate change for investors. IIGCC’s network includes over 90 members, with some of the largest pension funds and asset managers in Europe, representing €7.5trillion in assets. IIGCC’s mission is to provide investors a common voice to encourage public policies, investment practices and corporate behaviour which address long-term risks and opportunities associated with climate change. Visit www.iigcc.org.

ABOUT INCR – The Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) is a North Americafocused network of institutional investors dedicated to addressing the financial risks and investment opportunities posed by climate change and other sustainability challenges. INCR currently has more than 100 members representing over $13 trillion in assets. INCR is a project of Ceres, a nonprofit advocate for sustainability leadership that mobilises investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy. Visit www.ceres.org.

ABOUT IGCC – IGCC is a collaboration of 52 Australian and New Zealand institutional investors and advisors, managing approximately $1 trillion and focussing on the impact that climate change has on the financial value of investments. The IGCC aims to encourage government policies and investment practices that address the risks and opportunities of climate change, for the ultimate benefit of superannuants and unit holders. Visit www.igcc.org.au.

ABOUT AIGCC – The Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC) is an initiative set up by the Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA) to create awareness among Asia’s asset owners and financial institutions about the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and low carbon investing. AIGCC provides capacity for investors to share best practice and to collaborate on investment activity, credit analysis, risk management, engagement and policy. With a strong international profile and significant network, including pension, sovereign wealth funds insurance companies and fund managers, AIGCC represents the Asian voice in the evolving global discussions on climate change and the transition to a greener economy. Visit http://aigcc.asria.org/.

ABOUT PRI – The United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative is an international network of investors working together to put the six Principles for Responsible Investment into practice. Its goal is to understand the implications of Environmental, Social and Governance issues (ESG) for investors and support signatories to incorporate these issues into their investment decision making and ownership practices. In implementing the Principles, signatories contribute to the development of a more sustainable global financial system. Visit www.unpri.org.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The sponsoring organisations thank CDP for its support of the statement. CDP is an international, not-for-profit organisation providing the only global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information (www.cdp.net).

THIS STATEMENT WAS LAUNCHED IN SEPTEMBER 2014.


SIGNATORIES

GlobalInvesorStatementClimateChange_Signatories2015-11-22Nov_P1
GlobalInvesorStatementClimateChange_Signatories2015-11-22Nov_P2
GlobalInvesorStatementClimateChange_Signatories2015-11-22Nov_P3

 

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    This Changes Everything – The Film

    Repost from thefilm.thischangeseverything.org
    [Editor:  This excellent film was shown nearby recently.  You can find out where it is showing now, or arrange to have it shown in your community here.    Check out the TRAILER and read more below!  – RS]

    This Changes Everything

    What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world?

    “Purposely unsettling… Ultimately encouraging”
    Variety Magazine

    “Genuinely moving”
    -Entertainment Weekly

    “The realization that a solution is possible, well, that changes everything”
    – Globe & Mail

    “Klein and Lewis paint a picture of a post-fossil-fueled, post-capitalist future that seems not only within reach, but like a place where we actually want to live”
    – YES Magazine

    “Klein and those impassioned protesters provide something that has been in short supply in the predecessors — namely, a modicum of hope for the future”
    – LA Times

    What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world?

    Filmed over 211 shoot days in nine countries and five continents over four years, This Changes Everything is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change.

    Directed by Avi Lewis, and inspired by Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction bestseller This Changes Everything, the film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond.

    Interwoven with these stories of struggle is Klein’s narration, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there. Throughout the film, Klein builds to her most controversial and exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.

    Over the course of 90 minutes, viewers will meet…

    Crystal, a young indigenous leader in Tar Sands country, as she fights for access to a restricted military base in search of answers about an environmental disaster in progress.

    Mike and Alexis, a Montana goat ranching couple who see their dreams coated in oil from a broken pipeline. They respond by organizing against fossil fuel extraction in their beloved Powder River Basin, and forming a new alliance with the Northern Cheyenne tribe to bring solar power to the nearby reservation.

    Melachrini, a housewife in Northern Greece where economic crisis is being used to justify mining and drilling projects that threaten the mountains, seas, and tourism economy. Against the backdrop of Greece in crisis, a powerful social movement rises.

    Jyothi, a matriarch in Andhra Pradesh, India who sings sweetly and battles fiercely along with her fellow villagers, fighting a proposed coal-fired power plant that will destroy a life-giving wetland. In the course of this struggle, they help ignite a nationwide movement.

    The extraordinary detail and richness of the cinematography in This Changes Everything provides an epic canvas for this exploration of the greatest challenge of our time. Unlike many works about the climate crisis, this is not a film that tries to scare the audience into action: it aims to empower. Provocative, compelling, and accessible to even the most climate-fatigued viewers, This Changes Everything will leave you refreshed and inspired, reflecting on the ties between us, the kind of lives we really want, and why the climate crisis is at the centre of it all.

    Will this film change everything? Absolutely not. But you could, by answering its call to action.

     

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      Bill Gates gives Exxon cover: The Gates Foundation is deadly wrong on climate change, fossil fuels

      Repost from Salon.com
      [Editor:  Significant quote: “To Bill Gates’ credit he got the equation partly right, when he said that ‘the solution is investment’ in clean energy – a statement he backed up by committing to invest $2 billion in clean energy. However…”  – RS]

      Bill Gates gives Exxon cover: The Gates Foundation is deadly wrong on climate change, fossil fuels

      When Exxon shares your view, time to reconsider. Bill Gates has divestment, clean energy and fossil fuels wrong

      By Alex Lenferna, Nov 7, 2015 08:59 AM PST
      Bill Gates gives Exxon cover: The Gates Foundation is deadly wrong on climate change, fossil fuels
      (Credit: Reuters/Pearl Gabel)

      The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s wealthiest charitable foundation, has been under an unprecedented amount of scrutiny regarding their investments in the fossil fuel industry lately.

      Alongside a persistent and growing local Seattle-based campaign, about a quarter of a million people joined the Guardian in calling on the Foundation to join the $2.6 trillion worth of investors who have committed to divest from fossil fuels.

      In response, Bill Gates has proffered two public rejections of fossil fuel divestment, the most recent in a lengthy interview on climate change in this month’s edition of the Atlantic. Both rejections were based on misleading accounts of divestment which created straw men of the divestment movement, and downplayed the remarkable prospects for a clean energy revolution.

      Activists (and kayaktivists alike) were quick to point out the flaws in Gates’ argument and to highlight that by not divesting Gates is supporting the very industries that are lobbying against climate progress and whose business models are deeply out of line with averting the climate crisis. A disconcerting example of this came when Exxon Mobil endorsed Bill Gates’ view. They did so, furthermore, as part of an article attempting to deny their culpability for intentionally misleading the public about the reality of human-caused climate change, and by extension the risks of its product. Like Big Tobacco before them, Exxon are facing calls for federal investigation under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by no less than Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and more. In order to try and vindicate themselves and justify their deeply problematic position on climate change, Exxon turned to Gates’ views as support.

      Gates’ problematic statements remain the only response a representative of the foundation has given, and for a foundation dedicated to a better world, sharing worldviews on climate change with a corporation implicated in one of the more egregious corporate scandals arguably in human history seems like a poor position to be in.

      Thus, while the Gates Foundation has, of course, done much good work, such a response to divestment and framing of the climate change issue should lead us to question the intentions and motivations behind Bill Gates, the Foundation and its leaders.

      For instance, Warren Buffett, who owns much fossil fuel infrastructure, is the largest donor to the Gates Foundation, with donations of over $31 billion. What role does this play in the Foundation’s unwillingness to divest? Also, does Bill Gates’ chairman role on TerraPower, a nuclear power company, make him more willing to knock down clean energy in order to position TerraPower and their nuclear reactors favorably in the market? After all, the Atlantic interview in which Gates rejected divestment read almost like an advert for TerraPower.

      Divest-Invest: Two Sides of the Same Coin

      To Bill Gates’ credit he got the equation partly right, when he said that “the solution is investment” in clean energy – a statement he backed up by committing to invest $2 billion in clean energy. However, clean energy investments are only part of the equation; if we are to solve climate change, we also need to wind down investments in the fossil fuel industry and related infrastructure, while breaking the fossil fuel industry’s corrupting stranglehold on politics so that we can unlock the sorts of policies, societal changes and investments needed to tackle the climate crisis.

      While Gates claims that divestment is a “false solution” that “won’t emit less carbon” and that there is no “direct path between divesting and solving climate change,” the 2° Investing Initiative (and the International Energy Agency) point out that “divesting from fossil fuels is an integral piece to aligning the financial sector with a 2°C climate scenario,” with reductions in fossil fuel investments of $4.9 trillion and additional divestment away from fossil-fueled power transmission and distribution of $1.2 trillion needed by 2035 if we are to achieve the internationally agreed upon 2°C target.

      It seems that even Peabody, the largest private-sector coal company in the world, has a more enlightened view on divestment than Bill Gates. Peabody have recognized that by shifting perceptions around fossil fuels and spurring on legislation, divestment efforts “could significantly affect demand for [their] products and securities.” Peabody’s conclusion aligns closely with that of the researchers at Oxford University’s Stranded Assets Program, whose influential report on divestment illustrates that the political and social power that divestment builds through stigmatizing the fossil fuel industry could also “indirectly influence all investors… to go underweight on fossil fuel stocks and debt in their portfolios.”

      Contradicting Bill Gates’ claim that divestment “won’t emit less carbon,” the “radical” environmentalists over at HSBC bank recently issued a research report showing that divestment could lead to less fossil fuel production and less carbon emissions. According to HSBC, divestment could help “extend the carbon budget” by creating “less demand for shares and bonds, [which] ultimately increases the cost of capital to companies and limits the ability to finance expensive projects, which is particularly damaging in a sector where projects are inherently long term.”

      The “Miracle” of Clean Energy

      Gates also provided a misleading assessment of the economics of the clean energy transition (seemingly out of the pages of a fossil fuel industry misinformation handbook or his favored climate contrarian adviser Bjorn Lomborg). Gates claimed that the only way current technology could reduce global emissions is at “beyond astronomical cost,” such that a “miracle” on the level of the invention of the automobile was necessary to avoid a climate catastrophe.

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        U.S. Rep. Lois Capps: Oil-by-rail is too risky

        Repost from the San Luis Obispo Tribune
        [Editor:  See also the follow-up story covering the Cal Poly forum on Oct. 16: “Capps touts clean energy alternatives to Phillips 66 project at Cal Poly forum.”  – RS]

        Phillip 66’s oil-by-rail plan is too risky

        By Rep. Lois Capps, October 13, 2015
        Lois Capps in her office in Washington, D.C.
        Lois Capps in her office in Washington, D.C.

        The Central Coast was thrust into the national spotlight in May as news broke of an oil pipeline rupture that allowed tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil to spill into the Pacific Ocean.

        The ensuing damage devastated wildlife and our sensitive coastline, cost our local economy millions of dollars and put the health of Central Coast residents at risk. Sadly, this is just the most recent reminder of the hazards of drilling for and transporting fossil fuels.

        In the months since the spill, I’ve redoubled my efforts to ensure federal agencies update and strengthen pipeline safety standards, prevent new offshore drilling and guarantee that our communities are properly compensated for their losses. And yet, just as the final traces of tar are cleaned from the rocks at Refugio Beach, another serious oil hazard looms on the Central Coast.

        As many know, Phillips 66 has applied for a permit through San Luis Obispo County to construct a 1.3-mile rail spur to the Nipomo Mesa refinery. Construction of the new spur would allow the refinery to receive up to five deliveries of crude oil per week, with 2 million gallons aboard each mile-long freight train.

        This rail spur proposal comes amidst booming North American oil production and a dramatic expansion across the country in the use of railroads to transport crude oil. Not surprisingly, the increased use of rail to transport oil over the last five years has correlated with a sharp increase in the number of derailments by oil-hauling trains. The increase in oil rail derailments is even more troubling considering the large investments made in recent years to improve rail safety.

        The most devastating of these recent accidents occurred in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, when a 74-car freight train carrying crude oil derailed in a downtown area and several cars exploded, killing 47 people and leveling half of the downtown area with a blast zone radius of more than half a mile.

        Approving the Phillips 66 rail spur project would put communities throughout California at risk for a similar tragedy. If approved, communities within 1 mile of the rails would be within the potential blast radius of these crude oil freight trains as they make their way to their final destination in San Luis Obispo County. This is one of the many reasons why I am joining other community leaders, cities and counties throughout the state in opposing this project.

        The Plains oil spill near Santa Barbara in May and the Phillips 66 rail spur project debate are both stark reminders of the dangers posed by our continued reliance upon oil and other fossil fuels to meet our energy needs.

        We know that this dependence puts our environment, public health and economy at risk due to spills, derailments and the growing impacts of climate change.

        With each extreme storm, severe wildfire and persistent drought, we’re reminded of the very real consequences of our continued dependence on fossil fuels.

        The truth is that an economy that continues to rely upon fossil fuels is not prepared to succeed in the 21st century.

        That is why I have spent my career in Congress advocating for efforts to transition to clean, renewable energy sources that produce the energy we need while also minimizing the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change.

        I am proud to say that the Central Coast is leading this transition. With our cuttingedge research universities, two of the largest solar fields in the world and some of the most innovative entrepreneurs and energy companies in the country, I am excited to see what the future holds.

        Now, more than ever, we are presented with a wonderful opportunity to pivot away from our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and toward a more sustainable energy future.

        That is why I am convening a panel of industry leaders and academic experts for a public forum at Cal Poly’s Performing Arts Center on Friday to discuss how we can continue to expand our clean-energy economy on the Central Coast and across the country.

        During the forum, I look forward to discussing the multitude of threats posed by our continued fossil fuel dependence, the progress made toward developing renewable energy sources, and how we can overcome the remaining barriers to fully transition to a cleanenergy future. Please join us this Friday at 1 p.m. as we come together to build a safer, cleaner energy economy suitable to meet the demands of the 21st century.

         

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