Daily Management Review

Insurers Call On World Governments To Earnestly Tackle Climate Change


Insurers Call On World Governments To Earnestly Tackle Climate Change
Failure of the governments to tackle the challenges of climate change could have serious economic consequences, warned a group of more than 500 major institutional investors on Thursday, giving a call to governments to take immediate measures on climate change.
Current commitments of national governments could lead to an “unacceptably high temperature increase that would cause substantial negative economic impacts,” said the banks, insurance companies and pension funds in a joint statement before the U.N. climate summit in New York next week.
There were a number of global financial giant in this list of companies making the call and included names such as France’s Amundi, that has assets worth 1.487 trillion euros ($1.64 trillion) in its management, the Canada-based firm Manulife and the United States based Insight Investment.
According to the commitment of the 2015 Paris climate accord, signatory countries have pledged to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) while aiming to achieve an ideal rise of 1.5C (2.7F) by the end of the current century in comparison to the temperatures of the pre-industrial era.
But a gap between the modest steps committed by governments and the actual steps that have been taken so far by them was cited by the investment firms, which together say they manage $35 trillion in assets.
“This ambition gap is of great concern to investors and needs to be addressed, with urgency,” the companies said. “It is vital for our long-term planning and asset allocation decisions that governments work closely with investors to incorporate Paris-aligned climate scenarios into their policy frameworks and energy transition pathways.”
Imposing a meaningful price on carbon emissions, bringing back regulations that make it mandatory or companies to furnish climate-related information in their financial statements and speeding up of the shift from fossil fuel based energy to green energy by the governments was demanded by the investors.
In recent times, there is increasing cal by institutional investors about the economic risks of climate and need for fighting climate change. 
Not one of the companies in the top 50 list in the oil and gas sector adhere to and have policies that can help them to achieve the targets set in the 2015 Paris Climate accord of keeping temperature rise to 2 degree centigrade, claimed a separate report by the London-based Transition Pathway Initiative which is backed by investors. In comparison, about 20 per cent of the 59 electric utility companies examined in the study were found to be aligned to that target, the report said.
“The majority of companies have yet to establish their 2030 emission reduction targets, let alone set a longer-term vision for their carbon emissions,” said Helena Viñes Fiestas, global head of stewardship and policy at France’s BNP Paribas Asset Management, which is one of the investing companies that had supported the study. “We, as a major institutional investor, are concerned that transition risk — the large and growing gap between government targets and company ambitions — is a major source of investment risk.”