More than 500 global investors gathered at United Nations Headquarters in New York today to mobilize the trillions of dollars needed to move the world onto the path of clean energy, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon challenging them to, at a minimum, double clean energy investments to $660 billion by 2020.
“Markets now have the clear signal they need to unleash the full force of human ingenuity and scale up investments that can generate low-emissions resilient growth,” he said , speaking just days after scientists confirmed that 2015 was the hottest year on record.
“The world now counts on you to act at the speed and scale needed to transform the global economy. To keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees, and even 1.5 degrees, we must begin the shift away from fossil fuels immediately. We need a massive scaling up of investments in clean energy and energy efficiency,” he said.
Organized by the non-profit Ceres, the UN Foundation and the UN Office for Partnerships, the all-day meeting sought to catalyze a global shift toward exponentially cleaner energy fast enough to meet the long-term objective of December’s Paris climate accord to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero to avoid dangerous climate warming.
“In 2015, clean energy investments stood at around $330 billion dollars, more than six times higher than in 2004. This is a good down-payment, but far less than the “clean trillion” needed annually throughout the coming decades to keep temperature rise to acceptable levels and limit the risks from climate change,” Mr. Ban said, laying out five steps for the investor action.
- National climate plans of developing countries must be financed, with institutional investors particularly well placed to provide the significant amounts of capital needed.
- Pension funds must use their influence as investors and shareholders to accelerate the rapid de-carbonization of the economy.
- The banking sector must continue scaling up the green bond market while changing its lending practices to support green investments, reflecting the growing risk in the brown economy.
- The insurance industry must strengthen climate resilience and disaster risk reduction efforts, especially in the most vulnerable countries.
- Investors need to know how the impacts of climate change can affect specific companies, sectors and financial markets as a whole, with clearer disclosure.
“Investors and businesses that redirect resources to low-carbon, climate-resilient growth will be the economic powerhouses of the 21st century,” Mr. Ban concluded. “Those that fail to do so will be on the losing side of history. Every decision on investment and resource allocation must be part of the solution. Every dollar must be invested in low-carbon goods and services.
“The private sector is the engine that will drive the climate solutions we need to reduce climate risks, end energy poverty and create a safer, more prosperous future for this and future generations. Each of you has a major role to play,” said the UN chief.