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Investors rallying to scale up global clean energy transition


UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

ON the heels of the historic international climate agreement in Paris, more than 500 global investors gathered last week at the United Nations to begin mobilizing the trillions of dollars needed to catalyze the global clean energy transition.

Speaking just days after scientists confirmed that 2015 was the hottest year on record, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on investors to help achieve a doubling in global clean energy investments by 2020. While those investments hit a record high of $329 billion in 2015, significant gaps remain in growing clean energy at the levels necessary to meet the Paris climate accord’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius.

“Today, I call on the investor community to build on the strong momentum from Paris and seize the opportunities for clean energy growth. I challenge investors to double – at a minimum – their clean energy investments by 2020,” Ban told the crowd of financial leaders, who collectively represented more than $22 trillion in assets. “Sustainable, clean energy is growing, but not nearly fast enough to prevent excessive global warming that would trigger profound economic disruption and human suffering. The investor community is of critical importance if we are to move from aspirations to action.”

Organized by the nonprofit Ceres, the United Nations Foundation and the United Nations Office for Partnerships, the all-day meeting focused on catalyzing a shift in the global economy toward exponentially more clean energy and far less carbon – fast enough to meet the Paris climate accord’s long term objective of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions to zero in order to avoid dangerous climate warming.

“Investors are better positioned than ever before to address climate risks and seize the economic opportunities presented by clean energy,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres and director of its Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), the U.S. network of pension funds and asset managers working to address the financial risks of climate change.

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