Monday, September 29, 2014

Investors Showing Leadership on Climate Change

The global investment community is coming to terms with the risks posed by climate change and they are taking action to reverse our perilous direction. Investors see the future and they are following the money and moving away from fossil fuels towards clean energy. In additon to divesting from fossil fuels, investors are advocating for climate pricing and reporting.

Here are three recent actions:

1. A total of 350 global institutional investors, representing more than $24 trillion in assets, called on government leaders to adopt climate pricing.

2. A group of 70 major companies and investors, have committed to report climate change in corporate reports as a matter of fiduciary duty.

3. On the eve of the Climate Summit, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced plans to begin divesting from fossil fuels. Starting with coal and tar sands investments, the fund plans to reduce such investments to almost zero by the end of this year. This will be followed up by further fossil fuel divestment over the next few years.

Steven Rockefeller, a son of Nelson A. Rockefeller, and a fund trustee, told the New York Times he saw economic problems for companies that plan to use fossil fuel reserves that are theoretically ‘unburnable’ if climate change is to be kept in check. “We see this as having both a moral and economic dimension”

The Global Divest-Invest coalition is calling for divestment from fossil fuels and the $860m Rockefeller Brothers Fund is one of the signatories. Stephen Heintz, an heir of Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, said the move to divest away from fossil fuels would be in line with his wishes.

“We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,” Heintz said in a statement.

Heintz, the fund’s president, said “We’re moving soberly, but with real commitment.” He said the fund had already stopped investments in tar sands and coal, and was now trying to drop other fossil fuel investments.

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