Twenty-two American investment firms with nearly $240 billion in assets under management have signed a Climate Declaration, calling on U.S policymakers to seize the American economic opportunity of addressing climate change. The move was timed with the start of the Global Investor Forum on Climate Change that took place this week in Hong Kong. The declaration asserts. “Tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century … There must be a coordinated effort to combat climate change—with America taking the lead here at home.”
Jack Ehnes, chief executive officer of CalSTRS, one of the organizations who signed the Climate Declaration said, “As the global economy moves toward a low-carbon future, governments that act aggressively to enact strong, long-term climate and energy policies will reap the biggest rewards. In order to tackle the global climate crisis, we must realize the strength of our combined efforts. That is why CalSTRS signed the Climate Declaration. U.S. policy leaders need to step up on this issue and embrace climate change policies as an economic opportunity.”
Investors have been an important force in supporting policy changes related to clean energy and efficiency. Last year, investors managing $800 billion in assets called on Congress to renew the Production Tax Credit for renewable energy, which was ultimately extended for another year. Investors have also been outspoken proponents of state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs) that more than two-dozen states have enacted to boost sourcing of wind, solar and other renewable energy. RPSs have catalyzed billions of dollars of investment, thousands of new projects and hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, including 30,000 new jobs in 2012 alone.
“Being smarter when it comes to climate change is the right thing to do for all of our families, and it also will translate into economic and investment opportunities,” said Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, who has previously called for better disclosure of climate-related opportunities and risks and who also signed the declaration. “I am proud to stand with Oregon’s largest employers and premier ski destinations to recognize that a cleaner future will also be a more profitable one.”
The announcement comes on the eve of the first Global Investor Forum on Climate Change, sponsored by Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) along with the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, the EU-based Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and the Investor Group on Climate Change, which represents Australian and New Zealand investors.
“Without the participation of the financial community, we won’t get low-carbon solutions to the scale needed to address climate change, nor will the U.S. capture the full economic benefits of building a global clean energy economy,” added Anne L. Kelly, director of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), a Ceres-led business network that helped launch the Climate Declaration in April. “We are pleased to see strong support from the investor community on climate change policy, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. We urge the investors meeting at this week’s event to take the challenge of tackling climate change seriously.”