Major investor groups issue urgent plea to US Congress to pass strong infrastructure budget reconciliation bill with ambitious climate investments
27 September 2021
Major investor groups are calling on the U.S. Congress to quickly pass a robust federal infrastructure budget reconciliation bill with ambitious climate policies that match the scale and urgency of the systemic and economic risks posed by the climate crisis. The statement, The Investor Agenda Founding Partners’ Statement to US Congress on Budget Reconciliation Legislation, urges policymakers to support a sufficiently larger and targeted budget that accelerates the shift towards a more just and sustainable, net-zero emissions economy.
“Comprehensive budget legislation that includes strong climate and environmental justice policies would engender opportunities for sustainable, diverse jobs of the future that also support a just transition. Doing so advances the national interest of fostering strong, inclusive economic growth, creating good-paying 21st-century jobs, and enhancing American competitiveness in the global economy,” the statement reads.
The signatories, which include Paul Simpson of CDP, Mindy Lubber of Ceres, and Fiona Reynolds of PRI, lead organizations with U.S. investors that manage tens of trillions of dollars of assets. They are also three of the seven founding partners to The Investor Agenda — a common leadership agenda focused on accelerating investor action worldwide on the climate crisis. In the statement, they note the impact of inaction on investors and the broader economy: “For our investors, failure to act risks economic instability that threatens the risk-adjusted returns their beneficiaries rely on — many for retirement savings.”
This past summer, a bipartisan deal on infrastructure legislation was reached by U.S. congressional lawmakers that included new funding for electric vehicle infrastructure, public transit and intercity rail, and electric grid modernization. But the founding partners are calling for more climate investments including a strong clean electricity payment program, incentives for clean energy and electric vehicle tax credits, and a fee on methane emissions.
A summary of the key policy asks of the statement is below (read the full statement here):
- A Clean Electricity Payment Program that would increase clean power to 80% of electricity sources by 2030 and aimed at lowering electricity bills, reducing pollution, encouraging competition and creating efficiencies; as well as promoting standards for worker, public and environmental safety.
- A 10-year extension of existing clean energy tax credits, in addition to the expansion of clean technology tax credits and incentives for transportation electrification, including expanded tax credits for electric vehicle charging.
- Imposition of a fee on oil and gas extraction to reduce potent methane emissions, strengthen emissions monitoring, and plug emissions from wells and pipelines.
Paul Simpson, CDP CEO, and founding partner of The Investor Agenda, said: ‘Ahead of COP26 the US, along with other large economies, must demonstrate further leadership and accountability by taking greater immediate action on climate change. Investors are calling for policy that includes strong climate-focused and environmental justice measures – compatible with limiting average global temperature increase to no more than 1.5ºC by 2050 at the latest. We know that solutions exist, technologies are available, and capital is ready to be allocated – investors stand ready to help finance the transition to a resilient, net zero economy but need stronger policy signals to increase the pace and scale of those financial flows.’
Mindy Lubber, Ceres CEO and President, and founding partner of The Investor Agenda, said: “We cannot grow a prosperous and competitive U.S. economy with crumbling infrastructure, weak regulation and enforcement of methane emissions, or continued reliance on fossil fuels for electric power. Investors understand this, and that’s why they want a strong budget for infrastructure spending that includes the significant climate investments necessary that will enable the U.S. to do its part in tackling the climate crisis and making real progress towards a more sustainable, net zero emissions future.”
Fiona Reynolds, PRI CEO and founding partner of The Investor Agenda, said: “This reconciliation package represents a milestone opportunity for the US to take a significant step towards the vital transition to net zero. It’s time for action to meet rhetoric on this issue and for legislators to take the lead on ground-breaking measures to not only combat climate change, but also to secure an environmentally and economically sustainable future for the US.”
The founding partners are mobilizing investors through this statement and other policy advocacy efforts through The Investor Agenda to support bold climate policy action in the run-up to COP26 in November. Earlier this month, 587 investors with $46.6 trillion in assets under management issued the strongest-ever investor call for climate policy action through demanding urgent emissions reductions and rapid progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. The 2021 Global Investor Statement to Governments on the Climate Crisis represents the largest collective assets under management to sign on to such a statement since the first statement in 2009. The global statement is still open for investor signatures and will be delivered to governments ahead of COP26.
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About The Investor Agenda
The Investor Agenda is a common leadership agenda on the climate crisis 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. For more information, visit theinvestoragenda.org and follow @InvestorAgenda.
CDP is a global non-profit that runs the world’s environmental disclosure system for companies, cities, states and regions. Founded in 2000 and working with more than 590 investors with over $110 trillion in assets, CDP pioneered using capital markets and corporate procurement to motivate companies to disclose their environmental impacts, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests. Over 10,000 organizations around the world disclosed data through CDP in 2020, including more than 9,600 companies worth over 50% of global market capitalization, and over 940 cities, states and regions. Fully TCFD aligned, CDP holds the largest environmental database in the world, and CDP scores are widely used to drive investment and procurement decisions towards a zero carbon, sustainable and resilient economy. CDP is a founding member of the Science Based Targets initiative, We Mean Business Coalition, The Investor Agenda and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative. Visit cdp.net or follow us @CDP to find out more.
Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future. For more information, visit ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.
The PRI works to understand the investment implications of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and to support its international network of investor signatories in incorporating these factors into their investment and ownership decisions. The PRI acts in the long-term interests of its signatories, of the financial markets and economies in which they operate and ultimately of the environment and society as a whole. Launched in New York in 2006, the PRI has grown to more than 4,000 signatories, managing over $103 trillion AUM. For more information, please visit the PRI website: www.unpri.org.