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Banding together

Investors send Trump a message on climate change

Major U.S. institutional investors, including CalPERS, CalSTRS and the New York State Common Retirement Fund, have signed a letter to President Donald Trump, members of Congress and global leaders reaffirming their commitment to addressing climate change.

A copy of the letter, titled “Business Backs Low-Carbon USA,” was featured in newspaper advertisements late last month. It was printed after Mr. Trump had indicated his interest in rolling back commitments made by the U.S. as part of the 2015 Paris climate-change summit to reduce carbon emissions.

On March 28, Mr. Trump rescinded a series of Obama administration climate-change initiatives. Mr. Trump said his actions will create jobs by keeping coal-fired power plants open.

In the letter, the 1,000 signatories say they “re-affirm our deep commitment to addressing climate change” through the Paris agreement and call for leaders to support investments in the low-carbon initiatives in the U.S. and internationally to “boost the confidence of investors worldwide.”

Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, an environmental organization that promotes sustainable investing and helped develop the letter, said in an interview that the signers of the letter view climate change as “an imperative” for the success of capital markets in the future.

Anne Simpson, investment director, sustainability for the $313.2 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, said her organization signed the letter because of concerns that capital markets could fall into “chaos” if climate change is not addressed.

“We don't view this as a political issue,” but an economic issue that is driven by science,” Ms. Simpson said.

This article originally appeared in the April 3, 2017 print issue as, "Investors send Trump a message on climate change".