Trump puts off decision on Paris climate change agreement

Following recent concerns that US could pull out of the Paris climate change agreement, President Trump has put off his decision on this until he returns from the G7 group meeting being held at the end of the month.

Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, said recently that the President had been meeting with his team for quite a while and wanted to continue to meet with them. He said Trump would decide “on what’s the best interest of the United States using the expertise that surrounds him.

An international group of institutional investors have written to all the G7 and G20 leaders, ahead of the G7 meeting in Italy, urging them to implement the global climate pact and deliver their emissions reduction commitments.

Mindy Lubber, chief executive (CEO) and president of the US sustainability non-profit organisation Ceres, said: “Investors are sending a powerful signal today that climate change action must be an urgent priority in the G20 countries, especially the United States, whose commitment is in question. 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 US government whose waffling on the Paris Climate Agreement is hugely troubling.

Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) in Europe added: “Investors recognise the global transition to a low-carbon, clean energy economy is now firmly underway and they want to make well-informed decisions that help Paris Agreement signatories deliver their national commitments. Regardless of what the US administration does, it’s vital that every signatory across the G7 and G20 adopts policies that drive better disclosure of climate risk, curb fossil fuel subsidies and put in place strong pricing signals sufficient to catalyse the significant private sector investment in low carbon solutions.

Trump Paris Climate Change Agreement

Investors and companies are facing up to a low-carbon future

Major companies, including Apple, Google, National Grid, Morgan Stanley and Unilever, signed a recent full-page advertisement in The New York Times which urged President Trump to keep the US in the agreement. The advertisement was coordinated by Ceres and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

Meanwhile, investors in the US are also putting pressure on energy companies to outline their strategies for a low carbon future through the use of shareholder resolutions at their AGMs. One such shareholder resolution put forward at the electric utility, AES Corporation’s AGM by Mercy Investment Services, received 40% support, according to Ceres.

Mary Minette, director of shareholder advocacy at Mercy Investment Services said: “Investors understand that the energy transition is inevitable from an economic and environmental perspective. We need to know how companies are planning to succeed and create opportunities to provide clean energy in this new environment,.

Ceres said investors are achieving strong votes on similar resolutions at other energy companies, including 41% at Marathon Petroleum – a major U.S. refining company, 48% at Ameren, 48% at Dominion Resources, 46%  at Duke Energy and 45% at DTE Energy. Ceres added that given that significant voting blocs are controlled by company insiders and investors who reflexively vote with management, these levels of support are nearly unprecedented.

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