2021 Global Investor Statement to Governments on the Climate Crisis
This statement, coordinated by the seven Founding Partners of The Investor Agenda, is signed by 457 investors representing over USD $41 trillion in assets
We stand at the beginning of a pivotal decade in which institutional investors and government leaders worldwide have the power to raise ambition and accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis. If we do not meet this challenge and change course immediately, the world could heat in excess of 3-degrees Celsius this century1 – far beyond the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit the global average temperature rise to no more than 1.5-degrees Celsius, which scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
To achieve this common goal, we must work together to reduce global net carbon dioxide emissions by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 20302, with a dramatic reduction of all greenhouse gas emissions essential for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. Key to this is ensuring government leaders support sustainable COVID-19 economic recovery efforts consistent with net-zero emissions.
As the world prepares to gather for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), we encourage all countries to significantly strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for 2030 and to ensure a planned transition to net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. While we recognize the differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of countries, we believe that those who set ambitious targets in line with achieving net-zero emissions, and implement consistent national climate policies in the short-to-medium term, will become increasingly attractive investment destinations. Countries that fail to do so will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
In this shared global crisis, investors and governments each have a responsibility to act swiftly and boldly. Investors are taking climate action in line with The Investor Agenda, with more investors than ever before embedding net zero goals and strategies into their portfolio decisions, engaging companies to cut their emissions and calling on policymakers to deliver robust climate action. Investors are urgently seeking to decrease their exposure to climate risk as a core fiduciary duty and benefit from the opportunities associated with the transition to a net-zero emissions economy.
However, our ability to properly allocate the trillions of dollars needed to support the net-zero transition is limited by the ambition gap between current government commitments (as set out in NDCs) and the emission reductions needed to limit global average temperature rise to 1.5-degrees Celsius. In addition, as owners of (or those representing owners of) companies, we need access to adequate information on how these companies are assessing and managing the risks and opportunities presented by climate change. Government policy has a critical role to play in increasing our access to and affirmative disclosure of such information.
These gaps – in climate ambition, policy action and risk disclosure – need to be addressed with urgency.
We, therefore, call on all governments in 2021 to:
- Strengthen their NDCs for 2030 before COP26, to align with limiting warming to 1.5-degrees Celsius and ensuring a planned transition to net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.
- Commit to a domestic mid-century, net-zero emissions target and outline a pathway with ambitious interim targets including clear decarbonization roadmaps for each carbon-intensive sector.
- Implement domestic policies to deliver these targets, incentivize private investments in zero-emissions solutions and ensure ambitious pre-2030 action through: robust carbon pricing, the removal of fossil fuel subsidies by set deadlines, the phase out of thermal coal-based electricity generation by set deadlines in line with credible 1.5-degrees Celsius temperature pathways, the avoidance of new carbon-intensive infrastructure (e.g. no new coal power plants) and the development of just transition plans for affected workers and communities.
- Ensure COVID-19 economic recovery plans support the transition to net-zero emissions and enhance resilience. This includes facilitating investment in zero-emissions energy and transport infrastructure, avoiding public investment in new carbon-intensive infrastructure and requiring carbon-intensive companies that receive government support to enact climate change transition plans consistent with the Paris Agreement.
- Commit to implementing mandatory climate risk disclosure requirements aligned with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, ensuring comprehensive disclosures that are consistent, comparable, and decision-useful.
Strong policies, in line with limiting global warming to no more than 1.5-degrees Celsius, can accelerate and scale up private capital flows towards the net-zero transition. Full implementation of the Paris Agreement will create significant investment opportunities in clean technologies, green infrastructure and other assets, products and services needed in this new economy. In turn, investors can use capital allocation and stewardship to support sustainable activities that generate jobs and economic growth, transition away from carbon-intensive activities and increase resilience. We encourage governments to engage closely with investors to make sure these opportunities are fully realized.
As investors, we are committed to working with governments to ensure policy mechanisms are developed and implemented to transition to a climate resilient net-zero emissions economy by 2050 or sooner.
We urge all governments to step up their collective response to the climate crisis.
For the full list of 457 investors representing USD$41 trillion in assets, please visit The Investor Agenda.