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UN Climate Change Summit gets underway in Paris

Al Gore, Founder of the Climate Reality Project, provided the key note speech at a meeting of institutional investors held as part of the official series of events within the UN’s Climate Change Summit (COP 21) in Paris.

The event – Investing for the long term: addressing carbon asset risk – provided think tank Carbon Tracker an opportunity to present its research Manifest reported on last week questioning whether energy companies were adapting fast enough to demands to reduce carbon emissions. There was also a panel discussion providing a dialogue between companies and investors on how industry must align its business strategy with a 2˚C degree scenario and therefore the interests of long-term investors.

Ahead of the COP 21 meeting, the International Corporate Governance Network wrote to Christiana Figueres, the UN Executive Secretary on Climate Change. In its latest ICGN Viewpoint the organisation urged greater diligence by both company boards and investors to address climate change challenges as a matter of good corporate governance and responsible investment practice. In particular, the Viewpoint focuses on two key concerns for investors on climate change – board governance and reporting on climate strategy with reference to business models in the context of integrated reporting.

US President Obama, along with other world leaders, used the COP 21 meeting to launch Mission Innovation a governmental  to get more research and funding into clean energy generation. There are 20 participating countries who have all pledged to double their governmental andor state-directed clean energy research and development investment over five years. In a parallel initiative the Breakthrough Energy Coalition has been formed led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates which brings together 28 private investors who are pledging to invest  in early-stage technology development coming out of Mission Innovation countries.

To boost investment in clean energy the US government has also clarified when pension funds may choose economically targeted investments, with new guidance from the Department of Labor regarding consideration of environmental, social, and governance factors for retirement plan investing.

What do you think?