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C of E investors join call to ratify Paris climate deal fast

26 August 2016


Getting the message: a slogan is projected on the Eiffel Tower, during the COP21 conference in December

Getting the message: a slogan is projected on the Eiffel Tower, during the COP21 conference in December

THE Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board have thrown their weight behind a call from investors for the Paris climate-change agrement to be implemented as soon as possible.

Some 130 investors, who control $13 trillion-worth of assets, have written to the leaders of the G20 countries, urging them to move fast to ratify last year’s agreement to restrict global temperature rises to 2°C above pre-industrialisation levels (News, 18 December 2015).

The Commissioners and the Pensions Board were joined in signing the open letter by the Archbishops’ Council, the Church or Ireland’s Representative Body (which manages investments on its behalf), the Methodist Church’s Finance Board, the Church of Sweden, Jesuits in Britain, Christian Brothers Investment Services, and the United Reformed Church, alongside dozens of other pension funds and investment bodies around the world.

Among its recommendations to the G20 leaders, the letter, released on Wednesday, includes finalising the ratification of the Paris deal, implementing carbon-pricing schemes, phasing out fossil-fuel subsidies, doubling investment in clean energy by 2020, and regulating so that companies are obliged to disclose climate-related risks in their annual reports.

“The Paris Agreement on climate change provides a clear signal to investors that the transition to the low-carbon, clean energy economy is inevitable and already underway,” the letter states.

“Governments have a responsibility to work with the private sector to ensure that this transition happens fast enough to catalyse the significant investment required to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals.”

The Commissioners have increasingly supported shareholder activism on climate change in recent years. Last year, they helped make BP and Shell begin to include climate-risk reporting (News, 16 April 2015).

The letter has been welcomed by the UN’s top climate-change official, Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. She said in a tweet: “Thanks to 130 investors supporting rapid ratification and implementation of #ParisAgreement”, and sent a link to the letter.

The leaders of the G20 nations will meet in Hangzhou, China, early next month.

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