PHOTO: COURTESY OF CITI
WE ARE FACING a global climate emergency that demands immediate action and long-term solutions, with financial institutions uniquely positioned to help support a net zero carbon future and a more sustainable world.
The urgency has never been greater: polar ice is melting and sea levels are rising, as are global temperatures. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration reports that last year tied with 2016 as the warmest on record since recordkeeping began in 1880, and that 19 of the warmest years have occurred since 2000.
Given the stakes, it’s no surprise that investors are keenly focused on the climate change crisis. A 2019 Harvard Business Review study found that sustain-ability and environmental, social, and governance issues are now a top priority for leading investment firms and public pension funds. As the study points out, the world’s largest asset owners have trillions invested in the global economy and multigenerational obligations that call for a long-term view of systemic risks; they can no longer afford to let the planet fail.
The next few years will be pivotal and consequential. Last year, with the world’s attention understandably centered on the global pandemic, the UN Climate Change Conference, scheduled for November 2020, was postponed until this fall. Sustainable finance will feature prominently on the agenda, specifically mobilizing public and private funds to mitigate the causes of climate change.