Groups representing the world’s largest investors have published an open letter addressed to governments of the world’s largest economies calling for a new dialogue on climate change policy in order to avert dangerous climate change and its resulting economic impacts.

The letter, from the America-based Ceres, announced ahead of the United Nations climate negotiations starting on 26th November in Doha, calls for:

  • Clear, consistent and predictable policies that encourage low carbon investment;
  • knowledge sharing between governments on effective climate and clean energy policies, building on successful existing national and regional measures;
  • stronger international agreements that send clear market signals about the future of climate policy and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Current policies and recent trends will lead to average global temperature increase of 4°C by 2010, a level which scientists have suggested could cause catastrophic and irreversible changes to the global ecosystem, according to the 2012 International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook, and a World Bank report published last week.

"Current policies are insufficient to avert serious and dangerous impacts from climate change," said the group of investors from the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia.

"Institutional investors understand that climate solutions will require close co-operation between governments and investors," the letter says.

"Accordingly we call for a new dialogue with the governments of the world’s largest economies on climate policy and the development of workable frameworks that will reduce climate risk and support low carbon investment."

The letter is signed by:

  • the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (Europe);
  • Investor Network on Climate Risk (North America);
  • Investor Group on Climate Change (Australia & New Zealand);
  • Asia Investor Group on Climate Change;
  • the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative;
  • the Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative.

Drawing on investor experience, the letter outlines the key features of successful climate change and clean energy policy which attract low-carbon investment. These include:

clear short term, medium term and long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction targets;

timetables for these targets, alongside enforceable legal mechanisms;

incentives to shift the risk/reward balance away from high-carbon in favour of low-carbon investment.

Stephanie Pfeifer, Executive Director of the IIGCC said: “With severe weather events increasing in frequency and intensity, economic losses as a result of these events is increasing in turn.

“These losses impact upon the investments and retirement savings of billions of people. Well-designed, stable policy which stimulates clean energy investment is essential to put economies on a low-carbon path and avert the serious economic impacts of climate change.”

The four regional climate change investor groups – IIGCC, INCR, IGCC and AIGCC – also announced today the formation of the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change (GIC) to represent the international investment community on climate change policy and investment issues at a global level.

The GIC, which will be working closely with other networks including UNEP FI, PRI and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), will provide a focal point for engagement with international policy-making bodies.

Story: David Thorpe, News Editor