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Investor group pushes G-20 countries to hike clean-energy investments

Letter also asks for more climate disclosure, phasing our fossil-fuel subsidies

A group of investors, including money managers and pension funds from across the globe, representing $13 trillion in assets, has urged members of the Group of 20 to double global investment in clean energy, strengthen climate disclosure, adopt carbon pricing and phase out fossil-fuel subsidies.

In a letter co-signed by 130 investors and ahead of the G-20 meeting Sept. 4-5 in Hangzhou, China, the investors called on the heads of state of the G-20 economies to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement. The pact, made in Paris at the global climate conference in December, saw governments agree to a number of climate change-related, legally binding goals, including keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of the century.

Investors outlined six recommendations to achieve these goals, including a call for G-20 governments to complete their process to join or ratify the Paris agreement this year. G-20 economies should also implement the 2014/2015 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change's recommendations for governments, which include providing “stable, reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing that helps redirect investment commensurate with the scale of the climate change challenge,” and the strengthening of regulatory support for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The remaining recommendations are to support a doubling of global investment in clean energy by 2020, much of which can be provided by the private sector, said the letter; to prioritize the implementation of, and prepare to strengthen, nationally determined contributions to ensure all G-20 nations meet their commitments and raise their climate ambition in 2018 to achieve the goals set out in the Paris agreement; to prioritize rule-making by national financial regulators to require climate risk disclosure; and to welcome the work of the G-20 green finance study group. The letter said this group aims to enhance the contribution of institutional investors “to the greening of mainstream financial flows.”

Co-signatories of the letter include C$90.3 billion ($70.1 billion) Alberta Investment Management Corp., Edmonton; 290.2 billion Swedish kronor ($34.5 billion) AP1, Stockholm; £43.1 billion ($56.3 billion) BT Pension Scheme, London; $307.2 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento; and $181 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany.

The letter is available on an investor climate change website.