Prince Charles has said that “profound changes” to the global economic system are needed in order to avert environmental catastrophe, in an uncompromising speech delivered in front of an audience of senior business leaders and politicians.
The heir to the throne – often criticised for his meddling in political affairs – argued that ending the taxpayer subsidies enjoyed by coal, oil and gas companies could reduce the carbon emissions driving climate change by an estimated 13%.
Although the prince’s passion for environmental causes is well known, the speech delivered on Thursday evening in St James’s Palace, London was particularly pointed in its criticism of companies that protected vested interests and came with a report that proposed raising taxes on them.
Speaking at a event for the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), of which he is a patron, the prince complained that “the irresistible power of ‘business as usual’ has so far defeated every attempt to ‘rewire’ our economic system in ways that will deliver what we so urgently need”.
Mercer launches new global climate change investments report
A new report from Mercer modelling the potential impact of climate change on investments, has found investors cannot ignore the implications for investment returns. The research reveals investors can manage the risk most effectively by looking ‘under the hood’ of their portfolios and factoring climate change into their risk modelling, which requires a significant behavioral shift for most.
The report, titled “Investing in a time of climate change.” outlines actions for investors to manage key downside risks and access opportunities. It is the culmination of a research project that began in September 2014 and will be launched in London today; ahead of negotiations for a new global climate agreement at the end of 2015 in Paris.
The investment modelling in Mercer’s report estimates the potential impact of climate change on returns for portfolios, asset classes and industry sectors between 2015 and 2050, based on four climate change scenarios and four climate risk factors. The four scenarios represent a rise in global temperature above pre-industrial era temperatures of 2°C, 3°C and two 4°C scenarios (with different levels of potential physical impacts).
The California Senate voted 22-14 in favor of legislation calling on both CalPERS and CalSTRS to divest from investments in coal companies.
The bill, introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, requires the $304.1 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, and $193.1 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento, to liquidate holdings in thermal coal companies by July 1, 2017, if officials cannot conclude the companies are transitioning their business to cleaner energy generation.
Bank of America unveiled a new global coal mining policy today committing to reduce exposure to coal mining companies across the board. Bank of America’s Andrew Plepler announced the new policy at the bank’s annual shareholder meeting this morning in Charlotte, stating, "With regard to coal, over the past several years we have been gradually and consistently reducing our credit exposure to companies focused on coal mining. Our new policy...reflects our decision to continue to reduce our credit exposure over time to the coal mining sector globally.” The policy change comes after four years of campaigning from Rainforest Action Network and other groups, and is the strongest policy of its kind to date.
“Today’s announcement from Bank of America truly represents a sea change: it acknowledges the responsibility that the financial sector bears for supporting and profiting from the fossil fuel industry and the climate chaos it has caused,” said Rainforest Action Network Climate and Energy Program Director Amanda Starbuck. “In real terms, this means the bank is turning its back on the coal mining industry and committing to energy efficiency and renewable energy.”