Saturday, February 16, 2008

Important news on CO2 emissions and the market

We've known for some time now that a market driven emissions-control campaign was inevitable, but wasn't sure how it might get going. In particular, UC sustainability folks like myself, Advancement Director Rob Constantine, and President Mitch Thomashow have had interesting conversations over the last few years with some of the leading players, investors and industry types who we meet at conferences or who come to visit college.

This article from the Guardian shows how much momentum and pressure is building for climate controls in capital markets. My take is that this pressure is waiting, more or less, for the results of the presidential election.

Investment fund giants demand 90% reduction in carbon emissions

· Institutions try to seize control of green agenda
· Listed firms would have to disclose climate cost

* Terry Macalister
* The Guardian,
* Friday February 15 2008

Some of the largest institutional investors in the world yesterday called on the US Congress to introduce a mandatory national policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% below 1990 levels by 2050.

It is the latest move that underlines the way business leaders have dramatically seized the environmental agenda and are now pushing politicians to tackle global warming.

The group of 40 investors, which includes F&C Asset Management in London and controls $1.5tr (£760bn) worth of funds, also wants the financial regulator, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to insist that companies listed in New York and elsewhere disclose their exposure to climate change risk.

The investment houses are demanding that equity analysts and ratings agencies calculate the potential carbon costs for companies such as Shell, BP and electricity utilities which are involved in polluting activities such as producing oil from tar sands and operating coal-fired power stations.

The initiative was unveiled at the Investor Summit on Climate Risk hosted in New York by the United Nations Foundation and the Ceres investor coalition. It would boost investment in energy efficiency programmes and clean energy technologies as well as leaving investors better informed if not less exposed to carbon-intensive activities, the investors argue.

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