High hopes, high stakes for COP22

November 03, 2016 

In an announcement eagerly awaited by investors, policymakers, governments, NGOs and other stakeholders, the United Nations said that the historic Paris Agreement to address climate change will come into force on 4 November.

The terms of the Agreement are that it “shall enter into force 30 days after 55 countries, representing 55 percent of global emissions, have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or accession with the Secretary-General.  Currently, more than 70 countries and the European Union have joined the Agreement, exceeding the 55 percent threshold for emissions.”

In early September, the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, China and the United States, joined the Agreement, providing the impetus for other countries to quickly complete their domestic ratification or approval processes.

The Agreement will now enter into force in time for the Marrakech Climate Conference (COP22) in Morocco in November, where countries will convene the first Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement. Countries that have not yet joined may participate as observers.

However, despite these achievements, the UN cautioned that much work still lies ahead in terms of achieving global cooperation on transitioning to a low-carbon world.

Over the last few years, the PRI has been focusing on a number of climate-related initiatives, including:

  • the Montreal Carbon Pledge, which galvanized investors to assess their carbon footprint and report the results on an annual basis.  In a recent report by the Novethic Research Centre in France, the Montreal Carbon Pledge was noted as a major catalyst for getting investors to think about their carbon emissions.
  • Serving as a strategic partner of the Caring for Climate Initiative, a partnership between the UN Global Compact, UN Environment Programme and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • Working with UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), Ceres/Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), the Asian Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC) and CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) on a number of climate-related activities.
  • Engagements including water risks, hydraulic fracturing and palm oil—key areas with significant links to climate change. In addition, we launched a very successful investor statement around climate lobbying.

The PRI will have a strong presence at COP22.  Nathan Fabian, director of policy and research at the PRI will be speaking on climate finance at the Casablanca Climate Finance Day. He will be joining a panel on how to accelerate the energy transition, addressing the key issues to financing the transition to a low-carbon environment.  The session will be moderated by Jane Ebinger, from the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.

On 11 November, Fiona Reynolds, managing director of the PRI, will be moderating at a side event during COP22: Beyond Paris: Investor actions to manage climate risk and seize low-carbon opportunities, which will spotlight investor actions undertaken since Paris to align private sector finance with international climate change commitments.

Fiona’s session will focus on Scaling Up Investment in Low-Carbon Opportunities.  She will be joined on the panel by James Close, Director, Climate Change Group, The World Bank; Erick Decker, CIO, AXA Mediterranean & LATAM, AXA Group; Michael Eckhart, Managing Director, Global Head of Environmental Finance and Sustainability, Citigroup; Andrew Pidden, Managing Director, Head of Sustainable Investment, Deutsche Bank and Arunavo Mukerjee, Vice President Advisory Services, Tata Cleantech Capital Limited.

“Many of our investors have identified the financial risks around climate change as their biggest concern,” said Fiona Reynolds.

“One of the key points that set the COP21 talks apart was the significant role investors played throughout the summit and the importance of institutional capital as an integral component to countries implementing the investment inherent in their emissions plans. We are now cautiously optimistic that COP22 will at last see tangible commitments for climate change.”