Connect with us

World

COP26 coalition worth $130 trillion vows to put climate at heart of finance

Published

on

November 3, 2021

By Simon Jessop and Andrea Shalal

GLASGOW (Reuters) – Banks, insurers and investors with $130 trillion at their disposal pledged on Wednesday to put limiting climate change at the centre of their work, and got support in the form of efforts to put green investing on a firm footing.

An announcement made at the COP26 U.N. climate conference https://www.reuters.com/business/cop in Scotland commits its signatories, who account for around 40% of the world’s capital, to assuming a “fair share” of the effort to wean the world off fossil fuels.

Advertisement

A main aim of the COP26 talks is to secure enough national promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions – mostly from burning coal, oil and gas – to keep the rise in the global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

But how exactly to meet those pledges, particularly in the developing world — is still being worked out. Above all, it will need a lot of money.

U.N. climate envoy Mark Carney, who assembled the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), put the figure at $100 trillion over the next three decades, and said the finance industry must find ways to raise private money to take the effort far beyond what states alone can do.

“The money is here – but that money needs net zero-aligned projects and (then) there’s a way to turn this into a very, very powerful virtuous circle – and that’s the challenge,” the former Bank of England governor told the summit.

Carney’s comments reflected a problem often cited by investors who, in the face of a myriad of climate-related risks, need to be sure that they are being accounted for in a transparent and preferably standardised way around the globe.

Advertisement

“Some of the key interlocking pieces of the finance puzzle are now coming together,” said Nick Robins of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

“The $130 trillion in assets committed … is the moment when finance commits to reallocate capital at scale and speed.”

LOOPHOLES

However, others were not convinced.

“These happy headlines conceal a wealth of loopholes and opportunities for backsliding that we cannot afford if we are to avoid climate breakdown,” the Environmental Justice Foundation said in an emailed statement.

Advertisement

“Net zero pledges mean nothing without fossil fuel divestment. Time for financial institutions to put their money where their mouth is and stop funding climate-destroying fossil fuels,” the NGO’s CEO Steve Trent added.

Carney has led an effort to ensure that financial institutions account for and disclose the full climate risks of their lending or investments, forcing the wider economy to price in costs that until now been largely concealed.

These include not only the direct effects of more frequent extreme weather events, but also costs such as a loss of government subsidies for fossil fuels, or the knock-on health and environmental costs of greenhouse gas emissions.

Kristalina Georgieva, head of the International Monetary Fund, said it was crucial to incorporate climate data into everyday macroeconomic reporting.

China’s central bank governor, Yi Gang, said Beijing was working on a new monetary policy facility to provide cheap funds for financial institutions to support green projects, and that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the European Union would soon publish a shared definition of green investment.

Advertisement

And the vice chair of the global Financial Stability Board, Dutch central banker Klaas Knot, said a mandatory global minimum standard for disclosure of climate risks was now needed for both financial stability and the provision of sustainable finance.

‘GREENWASHING’

Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup, a GFANZ member, said it was remarkable that the initiative would influence $130 trillion in funds, but that it needed scale to work.

“If you don’t work together, you’re going to come up with a lot of nice really speeches, but you’re … in danger of being divorced from reality,” she said.

Investors are certain to welcome the launch of a global standards body to prevent companies giving a flattering picture of their climate policies and business practices in what is already a multitrillion-dollar global market for environment, social and governance (ESG) targeted funds.

Advertisement

“We are really focused on greenwashing,” said Ashley Alder, chair of IOSCO, the global umbrella body for securities regulators, which helped set up the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).

“It’s super important, and if you don’t have basic information on a globally comparable basis, then you increase the risks of greenwashing enormously.”

Private sector enthusiasm for mobilising climate-friendly investment also requires the assurance that governments are setting emission reduction goals that are ambitious enough to meet the 1.5 Celsius goal – something that is by no means certain to happen by the end of COP26 on Nov. 12.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry told a meeting of world mayors the pledges made so far gave the world only a 60% chance of capping warming at 1.5 Celsius.

(Additional reporting by William James, Elizabeth Piper, Mark John and Huw Jones; Writing by Kevin Liffey and Alexander Smith; Editing by Katy Daigle and Kevin Liffey)

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement

World

One of suspected killers of Saudi journalist Khashoggi arrested in France – RTL

Published

on

December 7, 2021

PARIS (Reuters) – One of the suspected killers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was arrested at the Roissy airport near Paris on Tuesday as he was about to board a flight to Riyadh, French RTL radio reported.

RTL said the person arrested was a former Royal Guard of Saudi Arabia who is believed to have been involved in the killing of Kashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel, Writing by GV De Clercq, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Advertisement

Continue Reading

World

Biden, Putin begin talks, RIA says, after U.S. warning of toughest sanctions yet if Russia invades Ukraine

Published

on

December 7, 2021

By Steve Holland and Andrew Osborn

WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden began a video conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Russian state television said, after U.S. officials warned Moscow could be hit with the toughest economic sanctions yet if it invades Ukraine.

The officials said the sanctions, which one source said could target Russia’s biggest banks and Moscow’s ability to convert roubles into dollars and other currencies, were designed to dissuade Putin from using tens of thousands of troops massed near the Ukrainian border to attack its southern neighbour.

Advertisement

The Kremlin, which said before the meeting it did not expect any breakthroughs, has denied harbouring such intentions and has said its troop posture is defensive.

But Moscow has voiced rising vexation over Western military aid to Ukraine, a fellow former Soviet republic that has tilted towards the West since a popular revolt toppled a pro-Russian president in 2014, and what it calls creeping NATO expansion.

Moscow has likewise questioned Ukrainian intentions and said it wants guarantees that Kyiv will not use force to try to retake territory lost in 2014 to Russia-backed separatists, a scenario Ukraine has ruled out.

“We’re looking for good, predictable relations with the United States. Russia has never intended to attack anyone, but we have our concerns and we have our red lines,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

Calling for everyone to keep “a cool head”, Peskov said it was vital that Putin and Biden speak given what he called the extraordinary escalation of tensions in Europe.

Advertisement

The Russian rouble weakened slightly on Tuesday, with some market analysts predicting the talks would de-escalate tensions and others saying that the U.S. sanctions threat eroded hopes of finding common ground.

Ahead of his first direct talks with Putin since July, Biden discussed the sanctions plan with European allies on Monday, seeking a strong joint stance in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

He spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

They called on Russia to defuse tensions and return to diplomacy and said their teams would stay in close touch, including in consultation with NATO allies and EU partners, on a “coordinated and comprehensive approach”, the White House said.

Biden’s team has identified a set of economic penalties to impose should Russia launch an invasion, a senior Biden administration official said.

Advertisement

A separate source familiar with the situation said targeting Putin’s inner circle has been discussed but no decision made. Sanctions against Russia’s biggest banks and curbing the conversion of roubles into dollars and other currencies were also being considered, another source said.

(Additional reporting by Idrees Ali in Washington, Gleb Stolyarov, Dmitry Antonov, Alexander Marrow, Tom Balmforth and Katya Golubkova in Moscow, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Catherine Evans and Mark Heinrich)

Continue Reading

World

Britain reports 101 more cases of Omicron coronavirus variant

Published

on

December 7, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has found a further 101 confirmed cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the UK Health Security Agency said on Tuesday, taking the total number of cases to 437.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by William Schomberg)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending