Wednesday, January 15, 2014

CERES calls for an Oil and Gas Climate Stress Test Today

Today, January 15, 2014, CERES will ask 48 of the world's leading fossil fuel companies to run a ‘climate stress test.’ The purpose of the exercise is to show that the core activities of the major oil, gas and coal companies are incompatible with mitigating global warming. The test also makes the point that these companies need to diversify beyond fossil fuels. Fund managers and investors are in New York for an annual summit hosted by Ceres at UN headquarters. US based global sustainability leader CERES heads a $12 trillion network of investors. CERES has organized a low carbon investor’s conference at the UN for the past six years. According to CERES data, shareholders in the US continue to show interest in disclosures regarding companies exposure to climate change risks.

One of the chief issues is a so called carbon bubble. This reflects worries about the $674 billion of fossil fuel investments that cannot be extracted if the world is to avoid dangerous levels of warming. Each year about a half a trillion dollars is being spent to locate new petrochemical sources. This is at odds with the low carbon economy. It is also incomprehensible in light of the fact that preparations are well underway that will arrest the growth of the carbon based economy.

National delegations are set to start the final set of negotiations on an international climate agreement in march with binding global treaty expected by 2015. This year's UN climate meetings are scheduled to take place in Lima, Peru in December.

The chief of CERES Mindy Lubber squarely addresses the financial risks associated with the carbon ‘bubble’ of nonburnable fossil fuel reserves. In response to the issue she is calling for more transparency from the fossil fuel industry. Lubber and others share the concern that the oil, coal and gas industries will strand significant assets.

© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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