More Investors and Businesses Than Ever Before Are Tackling Climate Change, And Governments Are Acting Too

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More Investors and Businesses Than Ever Before Are Tackling Climate Change, And Governments Are Acting Too

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More Investors & Biz Than Ever Are Tackling #Climate Change, & Gov'ts Are Acting Too
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 4:05pm


Hundreds of investors, businesses, and governments have recently announced major new commitments to tackle climate change, adding a fresh boost to efforts to expand investment in clean energy by an additional $1 trillion per year – the Clean Trillion.

More than 150 governments have now submitted national climate action plans to the UN ahead of the UN climate change conference in Paris in December.  The climate plans have the potential to unleash $13.5 trillion in investment in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies between 2015 and 2030, according to a new IEA report.  However, the current climate plans do not go far enough to limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, as the World Resources Institute (WRI) found in a recent analysis.

To move governments to adopt stronger climate plans that will limit warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, the We Mean Business Coalition, an alliance of organizations including Ceres who are working with the world’s most influential businesses, is calling for the Paris climate deal text to include at least three key elements: (1) a long-term carbon pollution reduction target (“a global, quantifiable emissions target to stay below 2 degrees Celsius”), (2) a system to ratchet global commitments every five years, and (3) support for carbon pricing to unleash the potential for markets to boost the shift to a low-carbon economy.

Sub-national governments such as states and cities are acting too.  To cite just one globally significant example of state action, California adopted sweeping new legislation in September to dramatically reduce greenhouse emissions and boost renewable energy, and also re-adopted its groundbreaking Low Carbon Fuel Standard that will promote clean energy alternatives to oil.

In addition to government action, there is more business and investor leadership on climate action than ever before.  Earlier this month, the White House announced that 81 companies have signed the White House Act on Climate Business Pledge.  And investor groups including Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk – collectively comprising 384 investors with $24 trillion in assets – recently underscored their support for an ambitious global agreement on climate change, as reflected in a full-page ad in the Financial Times.

Among the dozens of other business and investor announcements in recent weeks, here are three highlights:

  • Ten CEOs from global food companies issued a letter coordinated by Ceres calling for strong action on climate at COP21.
  • Six major U.S. banks – Bank of America, Citi, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Well Fargo - issued a joint statement released by Ceres calling for a strong global climate agreement.
  • 365 companies and investors organized by Ceres have announced their support for the EPA's Clean Power Plan and corresponding state implementation.

These developments provide tremendous momentum for a strong Paris climate agreement, but it is clear that much more will remain to be done after Paris.  To limit warming to below two degrees Celsius, the world needs to invest an additional $44 trillion in clean energy by 2050 – more than an additional $1 trillion – a Clean Trillion – per year for the next 35 years.  To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, investors, businesses and governments must act to close the clean energy investment gap.  Achieving the Clean Trillion must stay at the top of the world’s agenda as we move toward the December climate negotiations in Paris, and well beyond.

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We welcome your thoughts and questions on Ceres’ Clean Trillion campaign. Please contact Sue Reid at (@CleanPowerSue) or Chris Fox at For the latest developments, follow the campaign on Twitter: @CleanTrillion.

Keywords: Environment & Climate Change | Business & Trade | CERES | COP21 | Clean Energy | Clean Trillion | Energy | Ethical Production & Consumption | Finance & Socially Responsible Investment | Government | climate agreement