Sunday, 24 May 2015

Climate change: Paris 2015: Climate Finance Day

The French government is already taking steps in anticipation of the big UN conference in Paris at the end of the year:
France to require institutional investors to disclose carbon exposure - Pensions & Investments

And many of the steps being considered are around 'finance':

Climate Finance
Mechanisms established to help fund countries in their efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
International Climate Finance Day | The Road Through Paris

And on Friday, financiers met in Paris to consider 'climate finance':

International Climate Finance Day - On the road to COP21 - CDC Climat
Home - Climate Finance Day


23 MAY 2015
Climate Finance Day rounds off week of business action in Paris
PARIS: Five big announcements marked Climate Finance Day, the closing event of Climate Week Paris, including the total divestment from coal of a major insurance company and the declaration of French Minister Sapin that institutional investors will have to disclose their carbon emissions.
The major closing event of Climate Week Paris, Climate Finance Day, which was organized by Paris EUROPLACE, brought together institutional investors and financial and government leaders to discuss the question of how to shift the trillions necessary to finance the global low carbon economy.
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin opened the event by announcing France will soon pass a law requiring institutional investors to disclose their carbon footprint. It will be a “game-changer” action, in line with government's need to “have a better understanding of climate emissions before allowing credit for any project.”
The measure is also intended to help institutional investors to “understand how their assets are exposed to climate change”, in order to convince them to “decarbonize their portfolios”. Crucially, this law would facilitate divestment from fossil fuels to low carbon investments.
Minister Sapin also underscored that finance ministers of different countries are working to make sure that the climate-related efforts of the G20 will include institutional investors, a move that was defined by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres as “a turning point” and “the first sign of the transformation”. She said it is an extremely positive sign to have the G20 asking the stability board to look into climate risk: "To me that means that we have reached the scale of the financial system.”


The discussions were dominated by the issue of divestment, and how to avoid a 'disorderly' global shift, or a sharp financial slow-down which would disrupt the economy.
Anthony Hobley, CEOCarbon Tracker, explained the link between the carbon bubble - which is the concept of a limited valuation of companies which are related to fossil-fuel production - and a disorderly shift: “One of the ways to think about the carbon bubble is to imagine a carbon overhand, that is getting bigger every day we delay action. It is that carbon bubble that will build up the risk.
“We are at the last minute to choose if we want to have an orderly transition, in which we scale back from fossil fuels, while we simultaneously encourage clean energy, or we do it overnight, in a disorderly manner. That risk is going up every day.”
Suggesting who should be first to start the divestment from fossil fuels, Anthony Hobley continued: “If I was an investor in the fossil fuel industry, I’d be really concerned now. Because a lot of them will not survive without national subsidies. And if governments are desperate to replenish their treasures, here is a great opportunity: use that money for education and health.”
But the major announcements of the day came from Henri de Castries, CEO of Axa, a major insurance company. Axa has officially committed to divest from all of its remaining 500 million euros of coal investments between now and the end of the year, becoming one of the first companies to take such a game-changing decision.
The investments will be shifted to the low carbon sector, and he also committed to tripling the amount of Axa’s green investments by 2020, reaching 3 billion euros. Together with Caisse des Depots, Axa also committed to disclose the carbon footprint of their portfolios, which will incentivize transparency in the financial and insurance community.
Axa also announced joining the African Risk Capacity, a decision that will help increase disaster risk resilience by bringing cash flows to areas where prevention and recovering from natural disasters are too often blocked by the lack of immediate funds.


Concluding the day in a which summed up the whole week of unexpected announcements on climate and business action, Janos Pasztor, Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change United Nations, said there has been a "tectonic shift in the way business and private finance community are addressing climate change".
The day was closed by an intervention of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. After concluding "there is no alternative solution because there is no alternative planet", and reiterating that there is now the "will to succeed" at global climate talks in Paris this December, the Minister echoed the general consensus of the thousands of senior business, finance and government leaders who had taken part in events during Climate Week Paris: "Even one year ago, such meetings would have been unthinkable... which means that something is on the move", adding "we should continue and magnify what has been done in this turning week and the role we can all play".


By Denise Puca

Climate Week Paris, which is convened by The Climate Group, takes place from May 18-24, 2015. See the full calendar of events by visiting ClimateWeekParis.org

Climate Finance Day rounds off week of business action in Paris

And business is taking it very seriously:

Global business sends clear message to policymakers for ambitious deal at COP21

  • Paris, 21 May 2015

An unprecedented mobilization of 25 worldwide business networks representing over 6.5 million companies from more than 130 countries pledged today to lead the global transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient economy. At the Business and Climate Summit, there was a recognition that leading businesses are already taking action to build the prosperous, low carbon economy of the future. In all sectors, business has developed solutions, continues to innovate and is preparing to accelerate the scale and pace of deployment.
Global business sends clear message to policymakers for net zero deal at COP21
Science calls upon national and international policymakers to reach a global climate deal at this year's United Nations' COP 21 Summit in Paris that would see the emissions trajectory peaking around 2020 and globally achieve net zero emissions well before the end of the century whilst keeping cumulative carbon emissions within one trillion tonnes as required by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Business believes this objective is achievable and compatible with continued economic growth and human development if all actors work together in this urgent and long-term climate battle.
Welcoming the Business and Climate Summit, Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon said: "This is an important milestone on the way to the Paris climate conference in December. It shows that the engagement of the private sector that began at the Climate Summit in New York last September has continued. Business leaders are now in the vanguard of the movement to take climate action."
Opening the Business and Climate Summit, Francois Hollande, President of the French Republic said: "You must, here in Paris, make commitments, offer solutions and success will also be yours. Because if we take the expected actions, if we make the choices that are hoped for, I am sure it will have extremely positive consequences on economic actors, on future technologies, on employment and on growth."
Business leaders at the Business and Climate Summit made a number of calls to policymakers for more climate action and to introduce climate policies. Among these were:
  • Introduction of robust and effective carbon pricing mechanisms as a key component to gear investment and orient consumer behaviour towards low carbon solutions and achieve global net emissions at the least economic costs. The first goal is to boost energy efficiency. It also includes the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies to redirect consumption to clean energy sources. Such policies need to be carefully designed and implemented to avoid competitive distortions in some specific sectors.
  • The establishment of an alliance between business and governments leading to the integration of climate policies into the mainstream economy. This should include enhanced public-private dialogues at global and national level, backed by a commitment to raise ambition in line with developments in climate science.
  • A call for policymakers to leverage public funds and private sector finance, and to de-risk investment towards low-carbon assets, especially in developing countries. This should surpass the US$100 billion per year pledged in Copenhagen in order to shift the trillions of dollars needed to build the low carbon, climate-resilient economy.
Ambitious and smart policies from government - both national and international - are required to help more companies take low carbon solutions to scale. Most businesses can be winners if this transition to a low carbon economy is made predictable by robust, long-term policies.
Paul Polman, Chief Executive of Unilever said: "When faced with the challenges of climate change, businesses should be part of the solution. Companies that have seized low-carbon opportunities are increasingly seeing rewards. To go further, we need a strong international climate agreement that sends a clear and credible signal to businesses that low-carbon policies will endure."
Business called for more ambition from national governments in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and announced that they will actively support leadership from policymakers who set clear frameworks to accelerate investment and deployment of climate-friendly solutions.
Terry McGraw, ICC Chairman said: "We call for an ambitious global agreement at COP21 which works with business to speed emissions reductions and build climate resilience."
A milestone on the road to COP21
Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chief Executive and Chairman of Schneider Electric and Chairman of Global Compact France, said: “The difference between now and three years ago is that nobody in business really dares to say climate change is not happening. Companies have actually taken commitments on emissions reductions. With bold, clear and long-term climate policies to keep within the +2°C threshold, business will create growth, jobs and continuous innovation on the way to a prosperous low-carbon economy.”
The Business & Climate Summit was initiated following the UN Secretary General’s call for the private sector to take a more active role in the world decarbonisation process at the UN Climate Summit in New York last year. As a midway point between that meeting in New York and COP 21 later this year in Paris, it marked a key moment for the business voice on climate action to be raised and heard by policymakers.
Terry McGraw, Chairman Emeritus of McGraw Hill Financial and Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce said: “We hope the Business Climate Summit will be seen as a turning point for business in establishing an enhanced dialogue with national and international policymakers in the runup to COP21. We call for an ambitious global agreement at COP21 which works with business to speed emissions reductions and build climate resilience.”
The Business & Climate Summit called on businesses to develop and implement their own sustainability strategies in line with the science as described by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Businesses should set clear climate targets, develop innovative solutions and step up large scale partnerships to accelerate transformational technology development.
Peter Bakker, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development said: “The Summit has shown the determination and readiness of business to develop solutions for climate change that mean better opportunities for all. Over 80 companies are now part of the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative and more business leaders and investors are signing up every day to campaigns such as those led by We Mean Business to demonstrate their action on climate. The business world is scaling up action, fast.
Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay and Chairman for energy & climate of French business associations AFEP and Cercle de l'industrie, announced the launch of an initiative to mobilise international businesses for COP21: "Fifty nine chairmen and CEOs of global companies and seven national, European and global business organisations already support the 'Business proposals for COP21'. We thank the COP presidency for having set up the proposed dialogue between business and governments. We are also aware of our key role as company leaders for taking sustainable investment decisions. We call on executives worldwide to join this initiative in the coming weeks."
Particular focus needs to be given to the developing world where funding mechanisms should be set up to fight poverty whilst leapfrogging towards a low-carbon development path.
The Business & Climate Summit addressed some of the key climate issues impacting on the investment community as well as the business community. The climate change challenge will require a re-direction and mobilisation of traditional investment flows. Innovative mechanisms to leverage public finance and to use finance effectively in all economic sectors in developed and developing countries will be critical.
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General said: "Business leaders are now in the vanguard of the movement to take climate action."
Mats Anderson, Chief Executive of Swedish National Government Pension Fund, AP4 said: “Putting a price on carbon is absolutely key: it will send the right signal to the market, the investors and the polluting companies. And at the same time it will reward the leaders who take climate change seriously. Last but not least, it will push more money into investments in renewables and green infrastructure.”
The Business & Climate Summit, held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on May 20-21, brought together 2000 leading businesses and investors - 60% from outside France - with national and international policymakers to make the case that bold action on climate will ensure economic growth while limiting global temperature rise to less than +2°C.
Pierre-AndrĂ© de Chalendar, Chief Executive and Chairman of Saint-Gobain and Chairman of Entreprises pour l’Environnement-EPE, said: “This Summit is a first step to a large alliance of all actors that business needs and wants to build. We must continue to work together for this transition to a low carbon society, to allow vulnerable populations to live in sustainable habitat and cities and to allow poorest countries to reach a low-carbon development.”
Concluding, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said: “We have reached the turning point in making our response to climate change real, viable and inevitable. Organisations here, working with over six million companies, want to work with governments to build a clean, predictable and transformative path toward a safe and profitable future.”
View highlights of ICC at the Business and Climate Summit on Twitter at@iccwbo #BusinessClimate

Global business sends clear message to policymakers for net zero deal at COP21 | 2015 | Articles | News and Media | ICC - International Chamber of Commerce

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