Climate Week 2019: Calls for stronger commitments by govts. & companies on climate change

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25 September 2019

Financial Times blog on UN Climate Summit

Author: Financial Times staff

The 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg has delivered a sharp rebuke to world leaders, saying their inaction over global warming was failing future generations and pushing the world towards an era of “mass extinction.” Ms Thunberg said the failure of politicians and lawmakers to tackle climate change meant “people are suffering, people are dying and entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are the beginning of a mass extinction.” “How dare you” rely on the youth to rally support for climate activism and for hope, asked Ms Thunberg in an emotional speech delivered at the opening of the UN’s climate summit...Without urgent action, said Ms Thunberg, future generations will suffer dire consequences. “If you choose to fail us, we will never forgive you.”...

Ten blocks from the UN climate summit, inside an ornate library built by J Pierpont Morgan, startups backed by 13 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies explained how they plan to fix emissions from fossil fuels...Some other green advocates condemn OGCI as a greenwashing exercise. As earlier reported, a group of about 40 protestors waved signs outside a gathering hosted by Mr Dudley on Sunday night. Even as the OGCI makes pledges to reduce the methane and carbon intensity of oil and gas production, some of its member companies belong to trade associations that do not the support the Paris climate agreement...[For more, see: https://www.ft.com/content/b22326f2-db31-11e9-8f9b-77216ebe1f17]

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25 September 2019

Leading climate scientists' report warns of extreme sea level rise affecting billions of people if emissions aren't curbed

Author: Damian Carrington, Guardian (UK)

Extreme sea level events that used to occur once a century will strike every year on many coasts by 2050, no matter whether climate heating emissions are curbed or not, according to a landmark report by the world’s scientists...But far worse impacts will hit without urgent action to cut fossil fuel emissions, including eventual sea level rise of more than 4 metres in the worst case, an outcome that would redraw the map of the world and harm billions of people...The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and approved by its 193 member nations, says that “all people on Earth depend directly or indirectly on the ocean” and ice caps and glaciers to regulate the climate and provide water and oxygen...Half the world’s megacities, and almost 2 billion people, live on coasts. Even if heating is restricted to just 2C, scientists expect the impact of sea level rise to cause several trillion dollars of damage a year, and result in many millions of migrants...

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Article
25 September 2019

Most of world's biggest firms 'unlikely' to meet Paris climate targets

Author: Jillian Ambrose, Guardian (UK)

More than four fifths of the world’s largest companies are unlikely to meet the targets set out in the Paris climate agreement by 2050, according to fresh analysis of their climate disclosures. A study of almost 3,000 publicly listed companies found that just 18% have disclosed plans that are aligned with goals to limit rising temperatures to 1.5C of pre-industrialised levels by the middle of the century...The analysts found more than a third of the world’s top 200 companies still do not disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, despite rising concern that urgent action is needed to avert dangerous levels of global heating...However, these efforts will not be enough to keep a lid on temperatures in the longer term. The analysis shows...more than a quarter are likely to push temperatures up by at least 2.7C.

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Article
24 September 2019

87 companies commit to set climate targets aligned with 1.5°C scenario at UN Climate Action Summit

Author: UN Global Compact

87 major companies... are taking action to align their businesses with what scientists say is needed to limit the worst impacts of climate change. Responding to a call-to-action issued in June by a group of business, civil society and UN leaders, the companies ...have committed to set climate targets across their operations and value chains aligned with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and reaching net-zero emissions by no later than 2050...“It is encouraging to see many first-movers in the private sector align with civil society and ambitious Governments by stepping up in support of a 1.5°C future,” said [UN Secretary-General António Guterres]. “Now we need many more companies to join the movement, sending a clear signal that markets are shifting.” Of the 87 companies, the following already have verified 1.5°C-aligned reduction targets covering greenhouse gas emissions from their operations: AstraZeneca, BT, Burberry Limited, Deutsche Telekom AG, Dexus, Elopak, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intuit, Levi Strauss & Co., L’Oréal, Schneider Electric, SAP, Signify, Sodexo, The Co-operative Group and Unilever..."Warming beyond 1.5°C is a calamity we simply must not risk,” said Andrew Steer, SBTi Board Member and President and CEO of World Resources Institute. “Science-based targets provide a blueprint for companies to make a clear contribution to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, but we need all hands on deck. There is not a minute to lose.”

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Article
24 September 2019

Asset owner alliance commits to carbon neutral portfolios by 2050

Author: Susanna Rust, Investment & Pensions Europe

Nordic pension investors have committed to carbon neutral portfolios by 2050 as part of a new asset owner campaign.Members of the alliance will set and publicly report on intermediate targets “in line with Article 4.9 of the Paris Agreement”, thereby holding themselves publicly accountable, according to a statement about the new initiative...In terms of how the goal of carbon-neutral portfolios would be achieved, the statement said that members of the alliance would immediately start to engage with investee companies to ensure they decarbonised their business models...The Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance was announced today at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.It was initiated at the beginning of 2019 by Allianz, Caisse des Dépots, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Folksam Group, PensionDanmark and Swiss Re. Alecta, AMF, CalPERS, Nordea Life and Pension, Storebrand, and Zurich have also joined as founding members...The latest global investor statement to governments on climate change was signed by 515 investors managing $35trn (€32trn) in assets, and called on governments to phase out thermal coal power worldwide, put a “meaningful” price on carbon pollution, end government subsidies for fossil fuels, and update and strengthen national action plans to meet the emissions reduction goal of the Paris Agreement no later than 2020. 

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Article
24 September 2019

Multiple reports call for business to adapt operations & strategies to climate change

Author: Oliver Balch, Ethical Corporation

"Urgent need to end coal underlined by alarming reports ahead of Climate Week New York", 22 September 2019

The latest version of PwC’s annual Low Carbon Economy Index, released earlier this month, shows the cost of a decade of foot-dragging on climate action. Back in 2009, a 2C pathway could have been achieved with an annual reduction in carbon emissions (or carbon intensity) of 3-4% per year. A decade on and the necessary decarbonisation rate now stands at 7.5%... Chief responsibility lies with the engines of ever-upward economic growth: namely, industrial production, international commerce, and global trade...[E]ven if every business sector were to cut its emissions radically from today, the effects of climate change are already being felt... [C]ompanies need to face that reality and start adapting their strategies and operations accordingly. That’s the message from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), at least. In a short report, the business-backed coalition calls on companies to “build resilience by developing enhanced adaptive capacity to the impacts of climate change”... The high-level commission, which is led by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, predicts that climate change could – if unchecked – depress growth in global agriculture yields up to 30% and leave more than 5 billion people without sufficient water by 2050, among other disastrous impacts.

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Article
24 September 2019

New IPCC report expected to warn of climate change impacts on oceans & resulting threats to communities

Author: Mindy Weisberger, Live Science

Issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations body made up of scientists from around the world, the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) evaluates the latest research relating to climate change and its impacts on global ecosystems.This new report will be the first to specifically address the impacts of a warming world on Earth's oceans and cryosphere — the parts of the planet that are covered in ice, such as glaciers, permafrost and sea ice — to outline the risks that they face, the IPCC said in a statement. Data in the report represents the work of 104 scientists from 36 countries, and it references nearly 7,000 publications, according to the statement. Some of the topics addressed by the report will include extreme weather; sea level rise; coral reef health; ocean acidification; and threats to human communities that inhabit or depend on vulnerable marine ecosystems, according to the IPCC. 

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Article
23 September 2019

Analysis: World's largest emitters stop short of sweeping climate commitments at U.N.

Author: Dino Grandoni, Washington Post (USA)

Countries "once again stopped short of committing to the sort of far-reaching new goals scientists say are needed to rein in emissions," as The Post's Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin report from the summit. “Greta Thunberg laid down a clear line in the sand, separating those countries and leaders who are united behind the science from those who continue to place the profits of fossil fuel polluters above the safety of their citizens,” Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement. “Sadly, most leaders from the world’s largest emitting countries failed this litmus test, dodging their responsibility to step up action as is essential to address the climate emergency we now face.”...

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Article
19 September 2019

515 global institutional investors call on govts. & companies to step up climate action

Author: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

"Investors call on companies, world governments to do more on climate change", 19 Sep 2019

Global institutional investors concerned about climate change are calling on U.S. companies to align their lobbying efforts with the Paris Agreement and for world governments to do more...CalPERS is one of 515 global institutional investors with more than $35 trillion in assets under management urging world governments to step up efforts to tackle climate change. The Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change said that while investors are taking action on climate change, there is an "ambition gap" with current government commitments to the Paris Agreement. That agreement aims to prevent average global temperatures from rising beyond the 1.5 degree threshold predicted to trigger catastrophic effects of climate change.The investors, including hundreds of pension funds around the world, also asked government leaders to also accelerate private investment into low-carbon transition efforts....Also this week, 200 investors with $6.5 trillion in assets under management wrote 46 of the largest publicly traded U.S. corporations to make sure their lobbying activities are consistent with addressing risks associated with climate change...

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Article
18 September 2019

230 institutional investors call on companies to take action to combat deforestation & climate change

Author: Ceres

Today, 230 institutional investors representing USD $16.2 trillion in assets under management are calling on companies to take urgent action in light of the devastating fires in the Amazon, which have been fueled in part because of the deforestation happening at an alarming rate in Brazil and Bolivia.“It is with deep concern that we follow the escalating crisis of deforestation and forest fires in Brazil and Bolivia,” the investors wrote in a statement released today. “As investors, who have a fiduciary duty to act in the best long-term interests of our beneficiaries, we recognise the crucial role that tropical forests play in tackling climate change, protecting biodiversity and ensuring ecosystem services.”...The statement calls on companies to tackle the financial material deforestation risks, including market and reputational risks, within their operations and global supply chains...

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