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Charlotte Dudley

Charlotte Dudley

Charlotte is a writer for Environmental Finance.Environmental Finance is the leading global publication covering the ever-increasing impact of environmental issues on the lending, insurance, investment…

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Climate Change Threatens Economic Disruption Greater than the Financial Meltdown

Climate Change Threatens Economic Disruption Greater than the Financial Meltdown

More than 250 of the world’s leading investors have issued an impassioned plea for policy action ahead of the UN climate talks this month, warning that inaction will risk economic disruptions “far more severe” than the global financial crisis.

A statement signed by 259 investors representing more than $15 trillion in assets, including heavyweights HSBC, Allianz, Deutsche Bank and Swiss Re, called on UN negotiators and the new US Congress to implement national and international strategies to foster private sector investment in the low-carbon economy.

At the Cancún climate talks, the group is hoping for progress in a number of areas, including emissions reduction targets, climate finance architecture, fast-start funding delivery and climate change adaptation.

The investors also hope the talks will deliver progress on a rapid timeframe for implementation of efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and for the expansion of the international carbon market. Investors called for greater clarity on the future of the UN carbon offset mechanisms, the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation, and emerging crediting mechanisms such as Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions.

The statement said, without action, the impacts of climate change could cost up to 20% of GDP by 2050.

Jack Ehnes, chief executive of the $442 billion pension fund California State Teachers' Retirement System called for climate change to be tackled and private investment for low-carbon technologies catalysed, adding that the risks of inaction are “potentially catastrophic”.

“Climate change if left unchecked threatens economic disruption exponentially more serious than the recent financial meltdown,” he said.

Ole Beier Sørensen, head of research and strategy at the Danish pension fund ATP and chairman of the Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change, said “strong, stable, transparent policy” is the single most important driver for private sector investment in climate change solutions.

While policies in China and Europe are encouraging private sector investment in climate-relevant technologies, he said comparable economies such as the US risk being left behind because of a lack of policy drive.

Timothy Wirth, UN Foundation president and former US politician, said the US is “alarmingly absent” from climate initiatives and challenged the lack of long-term policy framework for low-carbon investment.

“The blunt fact of the matter is that our federal government is absent. We’ve got states like California moving aggressively but we have to spread that out across the country if in fact we’re going to take advantage of this opportunity,” he said.

By. Charlotte Dudley

Source: Environmental Finance

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  • Anonymous on November 24 2010 said:
    No doubt these are some of the same investors whose stupidity helped to bring down the global economy. By all means, let's do whatever they suggest.On the other hand, rather than committing suicide by energy starvation, we might try to use our brains on that rare occasion when doing so might save the rest of us.These (profanity blocked) large institutional investors do not understand the world except via the groupthink universe they inhabit. They do not understand that they are advocating a certain path to widespread economic disaster -- perhaps collapse.It is bad enough that they risk the pensions of tens of millions of generally hard working and decent persons. For them to come after the rest of us with their half-baked groupthink opinions is simply too much.
  • Anonymous on November 25 2010 said:
    One of the more important investors running her mouth in Cancun was quoted in a Swedish Newspaper this morning. She and her friends have apparently been reading the Climate Report by Lord Stern, and she and probably they were mighty impressed.Under no circumstances am I going to say that bad climate news is NOT on the way - maybe it is and maybe it isn't - but author, Charlotte, don't you understand that people like those 'investors' in Cancun and their even more dumb political friends are the kind of people who have caused us all this trouble.
  • Anonymous on November 25 2010 said:
    These misguidrd and insane globalwarmongers are nothing if not persistent. CO2 is not the major green-house gas-mthat would be water vapor which is atleast 95% of greenhouse gases. Human derive CO2 is a vanishingly small percentage of GHG. The purpose of this GHG activity is redistribution and enhancing the UN budget. Freelance
  • Anonymous on November 26 2010 said:
    "Enhancing the UN budget". It's a bit late to worry about that, isn't it Mr Davidson. The UN budget gave me some wonderful laughs when I was doing my thing in the Palais des Nations in Geneva, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out what was going on in that huge building except sheer nonsense - with the exception of a few fantastic parties that I was lucky enough to attend. But even so I'm not dismissive of global warming, despite the farces at Kyoto, Copenhagen and now Cancun. A few very smart people who - like Jack Nicholson in 'A Few Good Men' - are not interested in money and medals say that it might be the real deal. Of course, given nuthouse things like emissions trading and the Stern Report that's hard to believe, but still...I prefer to keep an open mind on this subject.

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