Major investor groups outline climate policy priorities for U.S. administration

13 April 2021

Ahead of the Leaders Summit on Climate, the CEOs of CDP, Ceres, and PRI call for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030

The chief executives of three major investor groups are calling on the Biden administration to adopt policies that will enable the U.S. to ‘build back better’ and restore its climate leadership in the world.

The organizations of the executives — Paul Simpson of CDP, Mindy Lubber of Ceres, and Fiona Reynolds of PRI — represent hundreds of institutional investors in the U.S. with tens of trillions of assets under management. Through their respective networks and the global investor collaboration of which they are founding Partners, The Investor Agenda, these advocates drive investor action on climate change and promote policies that will accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy.

In an open letter published today, the CEOs applaud President Joe Biden for his quick executive actions putting the U.S. back in the Paris Agreement and restoring environmental protections. They also urge the U.S. Congress to enact multi-faceted infrastructure legislation to build a more just and sustainable net-zero economy. 

“The economic and financial impacts of the climate crisis are growing more acute and widespread,” the CEOs wrote. “It is critical to our national security and economic competitiveness that we lead and support global climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.”

They added, “relying on science and sound economics, we are calling for a new approach to investable and sustainable U.S. climate policy that puts priority on the well-being of our planet and on the health and prosperity of all people both now and in future generations.”

Specifically, the CEOs recommend: 

  • Delivering a clean energy infrastructure plan that drives equitable wealth creation and job growth. This includes developing near-term clean infrastructure plans, establishing renewable energy targets for 2025, and encouraging existing authorities to shift immediately to renewable technologies.
  • Addressing climate change as a systemic financial risk. This includes implementing mandatory climate risk disclosure consistent with the recommendations of the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures  and requiring bank supervisory actions that address climate risks.
  • Implement domestic policies to meet net-zero targets and incentivize private investments. This includes measures that put a price on carbon, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and phase-out of thermal coal.
  • Advancing environmental justice to ensure a just transition to net-zero. This includes taking full account of the impacts of the climate crisis on the  most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. 

As a party to the Paris accord, the U.S. is responsible for setting and achieving a national greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, known as a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). The three groups are calling on the administration to adopt a target of 50 percent reduction of emissions by 2030. Hitting this target will ensure a smooth transition to net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, which will in turn, help limit global average temperature rise to 1.5-degrees Celsius. The administration is expected to announce the US NDC prior to the Leaders Summit on Climate planned for April 22.

Taking bold climate action at home will also enable the U.S. to rally other countries to set similar targets in the run-up to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021.

“Mandatory environmental disclosure would further establish a level playing field that will benefit all disclosing entities, policymakers and the general public. The CDP environmental disclosure mechanism, aligned with the TCFD, has shown that disclosing entities recognize climate risk as a financial risk and aim to raise ambition around achieving net-zero; regulatory certainty is key in accelerating their ability to understand, describe and address the inevitable and rising risks caused by the climate emergency,” said Paul Simpson, Chief Executive Officer of CDP, and member of the Investor Agenda Steering Committee.

“The world’s largest investors understand that the climate crisis is a systemic threat to our lives, livelihoods, economy and planet. We now have a new administration that also understands this stark reality. We urge policymakers to act quickly and boldly to put in place a strong sustainable infrastructure spending plan and the sound policy solutions necessary to tackle this crisis head on, and build a more just and inclusive net-zero economy,” said Mindy Lubber, Ceres CEO and President, and member of the Investor Agenda Steering Committee.

“Workers and communities across the United States must not be left behind to pay the ultimate price for addressing climate change. Transitioning to a net-zero economy is essential, however it is imperative that it is a just transition that leaves no one behind. All stakeholders, particularly low-income groups and communities of color acutely affected by the impacts of climate change – along with workers and communities in supply chains in the US and abroad – must be front-of-mind when implementing the necessary policies to achieve emissions reduction targets and incentivizing private sector investment in low-carbon infrastructure. We must also focus on ensuring that jobs created in the new green economy are jobs with good wages and working conditions, ensuring that we all prosper. Both investors and policymakers have the responsibility to ensure that the path to net-zero emissions is just for all,” said Fiona Reynolds, PRI CEO, and member of the Investor Agenda Steering Committee.

CDP, Ceres and PRI represent three of the seven founding partners to the Investor Agenda, and make up the US Country Policy Working Group within the global collaboration.

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About The Investor Agenda

The Investor Agenda is a common leadership agenda on climate change that is unifying, comprehensive, and focused on accelerating investor action for a net-zero emissions economy.
The founding partners of The Investor Agenda are seven major groups working with investors: Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, CDP, Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, Principles for Responsible Investment and UNEP Finance Initiative.


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