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Global investors call for urgent action on transition to a low carbon economy

With Israel Folau and tax wedges to discuss, you are probably not aware that there has been a climate conference going on in Bonn.

Australia sent 18 representatives, including our “Ambassador for the Environment”, Patrick Suckling – who knew?

Patrick Suckling was the only non-American to join in a panel discussion hosted by the US delegation at the climate conference in Poland last December promoting the “unapologetic utilisation” of coal, oil and gas.

At this latest conference, a global consortium of investment bodies with $34 trillion in assets, including First State Super which supplies superannuation services for NSW public servants, called on governments to up the ante on action to transition to a low carbon economy.

The following is their media release:


JUNE 26, 2019, OSAKA: Investors from around the globe are urging world government leaders to step up ambition on climate change and enact strong policies by 2020 to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, including phasing out thermal coal power and pricing carbon. 477 investors with $34 trillion (USD) in assets, a record number of signatories, are behind the urgent call-to-action to limit average global temperature rise to no more than 1.5-degrees Celsius.

“As institutional investors with millions of beneficiaries around the world, we reiterate our full support for the Paris Agreement and strongly urge all governments to implement the actions that are needed to achieve the goals of the Agreement, with the utmost urgency,” the investors wrote in a Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change.

The statement comes as world government leaders gather at the Group of Twenty (G20) Summit in Osaka, Japan and as the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres calls on “countries to build no new coal power plants after 2020.”

“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 (UNFCCC). “It is the biggest and most urgent challenge currently facing the world. As we face a true climate emergency, limiting temperature increase to 1.5-degrees Celsius is necessary for survival, and achievable!”

Figueres added, “Investors have a vital role to play in providing the trillions in capital required to support the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient future. It is therefore hugely encouraging to see so many investors unite around such a clear and powerful statement to governments. They are showing a sentiment shared across the global community: exponential scale-up and acceleration of climate action is not a choice but a requirement, and represents our best opportunities for financial stability and economic prosperity.”

“As an investor in global markets, we are exposed to the increasing risks and opportunities that climate change presents to our portfolios, especially in Asia where the physical impacts of extreme weather events will be the harshest and of the greatest cost,” said Seiji Kawazoe, Senior Stewardship Officer, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management. “To enable us to effectively invest in the necessary transition to net-zero carbon economies around the world, we have signed this statement to urge governments to take the actions needed to set us on the course to limiting global warming to 1.5-degrees Celsius.”

In particular, investors are asking world government leaders to:

Achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals

  • Update and strengthen nationally-determined contributions to meet the emissions reduction goal of the Paris Agreement, starting the process now and completing it no later than 2020, and focusing swiftly on implementation
  • Formulate and communicate long-term emission reduction strategies
  • Align all climate- related policy frameworks holistically with the goals of the Paris Agreement
  • Support a just transition to a low carbon economy.

Accelerate private sector investment into the low carbon transition

  • Incorporate Paris-aligned climate scenarios into all relevant policy frameworks and energy transition pathways
  • Phase out thermal coal power worldwide by set deadlines.
  • Put a meaningful price on carbon
  • Phase out fossil fuel subsidies by set deadlines

Commit to improve climate-related financial reporting

  • Publicly support the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations and the extension of its term
  • Commit to implement the TCFD recommendations in their jurisdictions, no later than 2020
  • Request the FSB incorporate the TCFD recommendations into its guidelines
  • Request international standard-setting bodies incorporate the TCFD recommendations into their standards.

“As shareholders, we are engaging with companies about their emissions, and how their Boards and their business plans are preparing them for a carbon constrained future,” said the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) CEO Jack Ehnes. “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.”

“Renewables are the cheapest energy source across more than two-thirds of the world today. The direction of travel is clear: the economics of wind and solar will continue improving,” adds Carola van Lamoen, Head of Active Ownership, Robeco, a global asset manager with $203 billion in assets under management. “Renewables are expected to outcompete new coal-fired power plants by 2030 almost everywhere. As investors, in our view the development of new coal power plants after 2020 puts at risk both the return on investment and the world’s chance of limiting global warming in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

“As one of Australia’s largest industry superannuation funds, and a major institutional investor, we believe we have an important role to play in bringing about positive action on climate change to protect the retirement savings of our members,” said Deanne Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, First State Super. “This aligns with the view of regulators in Australia, and internationally, who have identified climate change as a significant material and foreseeable risk and have called for immediate action. While we are responding on behalf of our members, this issue will require a coordinated, collective and collaborate response from governments, business and investors to ensure that critical changes are made now for the long-term interests of our members and the community.”

The Investor Agenda Founding Partners strongly welcomed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5-degrees Celsius which emphasised the urgency for average annual sustainable energy investments of up to USD $830 billion to transition to a zero-carbon and climate resilient global economy. The report also said that in order to achieve a 1.5-degree Celsius pathway, global net emissions need to decline by 45 percent by 2030 and reach net zero emissions around 2050.


Just another example of how crazy our move towards new coal mines really is.

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10 comments

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  1. David Bruce

    Well Climate Warriors, with a low carbon economy and no more coal fired power stations, what is the proposal for 2050 when we have 9 billion people polluting the atmosphere with carbon dioxide? Can anyone else see where this is going?

  2. totaram

    David Bruce: Yes, we will have to stop breathing, isn’t that what you want us to say? Have a nice day/night!

  3. king1394

    From Department Foreign Affairs:
    “Mr Suckling is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), most recently serving as Australia’s High Commissioner in New Delhi. He was previously posted overseas as Counsellor at the Australian Embassy in Washington.
    In Australia, Mr Suckling has served as First Assistant Secretary, Consular Public Diplomacy and Parliamentary Affairs Division, DFAT; First Assistant Secretary, International Division, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Assistant Secretary APEC Branch, DFAT; and Director, Trade Finance Section, DFAT.”

    Somehow, I don’t think he knows much or cares at all about environmental issues

  4. Frank Smith

    If Mr Suckling was indeed “High Commissioner in New Delhi” he should know all about the consequences of global warming induced climate change – but perhaps the Department of Foreign Affairs made sure he was out of New Delhi during the really risky poor air quality season in that city – we must protect our diplomats from “Occupational Health and Safety Issues” of course. So perhaps he has no first hand experience in global warming issues at all.

  5. Kaye Lee

    “Mr Patrick Suckling was appointed Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment in January 2016. He is responsible for promoting and protecting Australia’s national interests on global environmental issues.”

    Apparently Patrick thinks that means protecting our fossil fuel industry from those socialists masquerading as environmentalists.

  6. Aortic

    But but but Mr Abbott ( remember him) and most of his fellow Lunar Nutcase Party kiddies keep telling us we will reach our target in a canter, whatever our target is. No one has quite explained that to my satisfaction anyway. They also keep rabbiting on about the effect of any meaningful environmental policies on the economy. Do they ever stop to think if the degredation continues throughout the world there will not be a liveable space left to conduct their precious economy. The UK and Europe with far less solar exposure than us have legislated realistic policies and timelines while the three A’S merrily cycle smiling past coal mines and Taylor Canavan Hanson et al call for more. Still they do have a point, cycling is beneficial for the health always providing the air is good enough to breath.

  7. guest

    So David Bruce thinks he has discovered some secret never thought of before – that people (and other animals) breathe out CO2. The big problem is people breathing, so we will have to stop?

    Eggleton (2013) tells us that we each breathe out about a kilogram of CO2 each day – that’s about 3 billion tonnes a year with a population of 9 billion people, “a large number but nowhere near the 30 billion tonnes [or more] of annual CO2 emissions” (p. 155)

    David, you are not doing your homework – relying too much on bits and pieces spread abroad like chinese whispers and used as home-baked, twice boiled talking points. Graham Lloyd has a large collection of them which he uses to play games such as “balance”, “alternative truths” and “fodder for the ‘informed’ reader”. It is the tobacco-fossil fuels modus operandi.

  8. Michael Taylor

    I hope that Mr Suckling listens to the Europeans while he’s over there.

    One thing that has always struck Carol and myself is that people (and governments) in the UK and Europe talk about and treat climate change/global warming as something that is real. It is as much a fact of life as night follows day.

    Australia is one of only two countries in the world (the other being the U.S.) who has a government that turns a blind eye to it.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Population growth is a concern. Luckily there is a lot we can do about it.

    Educate girls and keep them in school longer
    Employ women
    Make contraception easily available
    Subsidise abortions through the public health system
    Pass assisted dying laws
    Outlaw child brides everywhere
    Lift people out of poverty

    Plus we must reduce consumption, and do much better at reusing and recycling and valuing our clean air and water

  10. New England Cocky

    Uhm ….. In 1979 Barry Commoner noted that the optimal future for mankind included limits on breeding regardless of the social impacts in Asian countries lacking social security systems.

    KL is correct; empowering women has been shown in India, Africa and other third world countries, to maximise community development and raise the standard of living from horribly pitiful to just pitiful … and the process continues.

    Further there wis a coming transfer of wealth between generations approaching by about 2050 as the WWII Baby Boomers pass on. Now there is an opportunity for governments and multinational corporations to harvest other people’s wealth.

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