Founding Partners of the Investor Agenda share reactions to COP28Posted 29th January 2024
At COP28 in Dubai, governments, businesses, investors and others met to flesh out the critical actions needed to tackle the climate crisis. For the first time, all governments recognized in the final text the need for “transitioning away from fossil fuels…” While some worry it leaves too many loopholes to curb the production and consumption of fossil fuels, others believe it was a sign of progress.
When it comes to climate finance, early success at COP28 came with the launch of the loss and damage fund on the first day. The fund intends to help developing countries cope with the impact of climate change. This is a positive step in the right direction, though additional policies and investments will be needed through 2024 and beyond to help countries transition away from fossil fuels and manage unavoidable climate impacts.
The Founding Partners of The Investor Agenda – AIGCC, CDP, Ceres, IGCC, IIGCC, PRI and UNEP FI – co-hosted an official COP28 side event with speakers from the U.S. Department of Treasury, asset owners and asset managers, as well as industry experts. The event – Accelerating and Scaling Up Investor Climate Action to Achieve the Paris Agreement’s Goals – focused on the policies and frameworks needed for investors to drive a just transition to a net zero economy.
Founding Partners of the Investor Agenda have shared their reactions and key takeaways from COP28 in the statements below. Please follow the links for the full reactions.
AIGCC / IGCC
Erwin Jackson, Managing Director, Policy at IGCC and Investor Agenda Steering Committee member for AIGCC, said:
“Climate change damages to the economy, infrastructure and communities are well-recognised threats to financial stability, higher inflation and higher capital, insurance, food, and water costs.
“The economic opportunities from a just transition out of fossils to clean industry, renewable energy, next generation transport and green resources are significant. Investors are looking to deliver strong long-term returns for retirement savings and are hungry for investment opportunities in transition and clean industries.
“Investment grade sector decarbonisation and just transitions policies are needed to support investment in Australia and its vital regions. Investors are looking forward to working with governments, businesses, and communities to deliver a just and orderly transition out of fossil fuels.”
Read the full IGCC reaction here.
Sherry Madera, CEO of CDP, a Founding Partner of the Investor Agenda, said:
“To start with the positive: the call to transition away from fossil fuels, and for non-state actors to increase their ambition in this area, sends a clear signal to companies and investors. The era of fossil fuels is over. The Stocktake reaffirms what CDP data has long shown: robust policies and regulation are needed to harmonize finance streams and ensure financial flows are now rapidly directed away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.
Almost 50% of the 575 financial institutions that disclosed in 2023 reported holding ~US$ 9 trillion in fossil fuel financing across their portfolios alone – equivalent to the combined GDP of Japan and Germany. This small snapshot is a damning indictment of where investment sits, and a clear signal of the work that needs to be done to shift and harmonize financial flows. Quality disclosure data will be absolutely essential in supporting governments to direct policies and resources in the right areas and CDP is committed to putting our 20+ years of data and insights at their disposal, to drive forward the transition, effectively track progress and hold laggards to account.”
Read the full CDP reaction here.
Mindy Lubber, CEO and President of Ceres and Investor Agenda Steering Committee member, said:
“We applaud world leaders for reaching an agreement in the final hours of COP28 that begins to acknowledge the need for a critical economic transition, but its success — and ultimately its legacy — will be determined by the actions that follow. We, along with hundreds of institutional investors and companies, have called on countries to take the most ambitious actions possible to prevent the worst outcomes of climate crisis by moving away from fossil fuels, investing in abundant renewable energy and innovative solutions, and supporting a just transition to a clean, sustainable, and inclusive economy.
The mention of fossil fuels in the COP28 text marks a milestone for a COP agreement, which has never been so explicit in naming the primary cause of the climate crisis. But because the language is vague and potentially presents loopholes that could undermine its own potential, it is, therefore, essential that these measures are interpreted properly and implemented aggressively to deliver emission reductions at the speed and scale that our global climate and economic security goals require.”
Read the full Ceres reaction here.
Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of IIGCC and Founding Partner of The Investor Agenda, said:
“During official dialogues, IIGCC members outlined what they need to see from countries implementing climate policies. This included stronger signals and more detail in nationally determined contributions, carbon pricing, clearer sectoral pathways and reform of the multilateral development bank model.
Now, the challenge is for the public and private sector to work together to accelerate progress.
In the text itself, investors will be encouraged to see recognition of the importance of an enabling policy framework for climate finance, something which we have long called for. It also referenced climate-related financial risks, encouraging party and non-party stakeholders alike to better understand and assess those risks to improve capital allocation and emphasising the specific role of institutional investors.”
Read the full IIGCC reaction here.
David Atkin, CEO, Principles for Responsible Investment and Founding Partner of The Investor Agenda, said:
“The Investor Agenda is the forum through which these networks align our complementary efforts, and it was my pleasure to moderate a panel with representatives from Brunel Pension Partnership, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and SGX Group, alongside network partners and others. Our panel focused on scaling up climate solutions, and we heard valuable input from participants aligned with our core messages on the need for an enabling policy environment for investors. My warm thanks to all who attended and participated in some important discussions.
“More broadly, there were valuable opportunities for exchange within the business and finance community, including a dialogue with CEOs on Nature Positive at the Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum and as part of a series of events hosted by GFANZ, where I was pleased to moderate a roundtable focused on the important role of index providers. The United Nations Framework Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) ‘Public Private Sector Climate Finance Dialogue’ meeting further supported investors and finance policymakers to exchange on what’s needed to create an enabling policy environment.”
Read the full PRI reaction here.
Remco Fischer, Climate Lead at UNEP FI and Investor Agenda Steering Committee member said:
“There are those looking at the big picture, the fundamental causes, the drivers of and solutions to climate change, and the decades-long history of intergovernmental negotiations; the ones thinking like visionaries and historians. From their perspective, the UAE Consensus can indeed be seen as a real landmark, as a catalyst of the unavoidable paradigm shifts that we must undergo for global society to have a fighting chance at coping with the climate change phenomenon.
Then there are the communities – including those already heavily impacted by the 1.3C of warming that we have now – as well as the decision-makers in the real economy – who are desperately waiting and looking for concrete measures, for clear objectives and timelines, for tangible support packages, and means of implementation. It’s the implementers, as well as those on the frontline of global heating.
To them, the UAE consensus can only be a disappointment: a wasted opportunity that failed to truly build and capitalise on existing concrete and ambitious policies such as the Inflation Reduction Act in the US and EU Green Deal — both in terms of the huge business opportunity these initiatives represent and their potential to accelerate the transition towards clean energy.
Those in the first camp will highlight the extraordinary achievement of reaching a practically universal, multilateral consensus among all countries, on a challenge as complex and divisive in 2023 as climate change. All this in a world that otherwise is increasingly divided, with increasing conflicts that some are calling the beginning of a reversal in globalisation.”
Read the full UNEP FI reaction here.