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Investors urge governments to stand by climate change commitments

Institutional investors representing more than $15 trillion in assets have written a letter urging governments to stand by their commitments to a climate change agreement.

The letter has been sent to Group of Seven and Group of 20 heads of state and relates to the Paris Agreement, a 2015 global pact on climate change. Leaders are urged to reiterate their commitments to the pact at an upcoming meeting in Italy, May 26-27.

Investors have called on G-7 and G-20 leaders to reinforce their support and commitment to implement the agreement, to bring forward focused and targeted long-term climate and energy plans that align with keeping the global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to drive investment into low-carbon transition projects. Leaders are also urged to implement climate-related financial reporting frameworks, including to support recommendations by the Financial Stability Board Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

“Investors are sending a powerful signal today that climate change action must be an urgent priority in the G-20 countries, especially the United States, whose commitment is in question,” said Mindy S. Lubber, CEO and president of sustainability non-profit organization Ceres, in a news release accompanying the letter. “Global investors are eager to open their wallets to a low-carbon future, but it won’t happen without clear, stable policy signals from countries worldwide — in particular, the U.S. government whose waffling on the Paris climate agreement is hugely troubling.”

The letter said investors “believe that the mitigation of climate change is essential for the safeguarding of our investments.”

It added that investors are concerned, however, “that reference to climate change, climate finance and climate adaption were omitted from the G-20 finance ministers communique in March 2017,” referring to a news release dated March 17-18 about the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting. “Investors believe it is vital that the governments of G-7 and G-20 nations continue to publicly express their commitment to support climate finance to both mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change,” the letter added.

Among the 217 signatories are the €389 billion ($424 billion) Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, Heerlen, Netherlands; $318.9 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Sacramento; and pound;19 billion ($24.6 billion) Strathclyde Pension Fund, Glasgow, Scotland.

The letter is available on the Investor Platform for Climate Actions’ website, and will remain open for endorsement by more investors until June 30.