In a further example of serious financial interests getting concerned about the climate debate, fund managers with some $34 trillion under management have called upon world leaders to step up climate action.
Specifically the superannuation funds and investors have demanded that leaders of the G20 group meeting in Japan, bring in carbon pricing and phase out coal power to limit global heating to 1.5C.
The financiers represent nearly half of the total investment funds under management across the globe.
A statement released ahead of a G20 leaders meeting in Osaka by 477 institutional investors urges world leaders to accelerate their response to the climate crisis to ensure the goals of the 2015 Paris climate deal can be met.
The statement is backed by Australian asset managers and retail and industry super funds including Australian Super, First State Super, Cbus, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, HESTA, BT Financial Group, VicSuper, New Forests and IFM Investors.
“We reiterate our full support for the Paris agreement and strongly urge all governments to implement the actions that are needed to achieve the goals of the agreement with utmost urgency,” the statement says.
It calls on leaders to strengthen international commitments, release long-term strategies to cut emissions and plan for a just transition to a low-carbon economy.
It would mean setting a deadline to phase out thermal coal electricity and fossil fuel subsidies, putting “a meaningful price” on carbon and committing to improve climate-related financial reporting standards.
Australian business groups are particularly vocal. The Australian Climate Roundtable, consisting of business, investor, employer, farming, union, environmental and social welfare groups, have called on its government to do more to address climate change and manage an inevitable transition to clean energy.
Deanne Stewart, the chief executive of First State Super, said the investors’ call was in line with the view of regulators in Australia and overseas, which have described the climate crisis as a major and foreseeable risk that requires immediate action.
She said First State Super, with more than $90 billion in assets, had a role to play in encouraging a strong response to protect retirement savings.
“This issue will require a coordinated, collective and collaborative response from governments, business and investors to ensure that critical changes are made now for the long-term interests of our members and the community,” Stewart said.