A near-500 member institutional investor group, responsible for more than $34 trillion in assets under management, is demanding world leaders address climate change ahead of the upcoming G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan.
The group wants the global chiefs, who are meeting Friday and Saturday, to follow the goals of the Paris Agreement, which wants the world to cut its carbon levels so the global temperature rises below 2°C above pre-industrial levels each year, according to its letter.
As it stands, the investor coalition is concerned that the world’s nations are falling short of the climate accord’s goals. The group calls this an “ambition gap,” and said further neglect of the Paris Agreement’s mission would lead to “an unacceptably high temperature increase that would cause substantial negative economic impacts.”
The coalition’s 477 members include big pension funds and asset managers such as Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the California Public Employees Retirement System, the California State Teachers Retirement System, Aberdeen Standard Investments, and various political figures.
The group pointed to its individual efforts to push companies in their portfolios to adopt better climate reporting and implement recommendations in the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure.
It is asking world leaders increase their commitment to the Paris Agreement’s goals, such as limiting temperature increase to 1.5 °C by next year, via a long-term carbon reduction framework, and to improve climate-related financial reporting in corporations.
This also follows United Nations Secretary General António Guterres’s May call that countries build “no new coal power plants after 2020,” the group’s letter said.
“Climate change affects all sectors of the economy and all countries,” said Christiana Figueres, Convener of Mission 2020 and former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Investors and mega funds can only do so much to push companies to engagement, thus the need to engage the G20 leaders.
“We need the governments of the world to implement the Paris Agreement and regulate emissions on a clear timeline so that businesses know what the interim targets are and the timeline for their action,” CalSTRS chief executive officer Jack Ehnes said.