Ban Ki-moon calls for doubling of clean energy investment

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for global investment into clean energy to be doubled by 2020 in order to keep global temperature increases below 2C as set out in Paris.

Speaking at the UN investor summit in New York yesterday (27 January), Ki-moon addressed more than 500 global investors who represent more than $22trn in assets. (scroll down for video).

He urged the investors to carry on the momentum of the COP21 climate talks and mobilise the vast amounts of money needed to catalyse the global clean energy transition.

“Today, I call on the investor community to build on the strong momentum from Paris and seize the opportunities for clean energy growth,” Ki-moon said. “I challenge investors to double – at a minimum – their clean energy investments by 2020.”

“Sustainable, clean energy is growing, but not nearly fast enough to prevent excessive global warming that would trigger profound economic disruption and human suffering. The investor community is of critical importance if we are to move from aspirations to action.”

Reliable information

NGO Ceres, the UN Foundation and the UN Office for Partnerships organised the investor summit to focus investors on moving fast enough to comply with the long-term objectives established at the Paris climate conference.

Ki-moon was joined at the summit by his special envoy for cities and climate change and chair of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on climate-related financial disclosures Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg said: “Cities and businesses recognise the economic benefits that come with fighting climate change, and they’re setting a great example by establishing clear goals and measuring the impact of their work.

“The more reliable information investors have about climate change, the easier it is for them to make informed decisions, and that will help drive more financing to projects that reduce carbon pollution and promote sustainable economic growth.”

High pressure

While 2015 saw a record $329bn invested into clean technology, infrastructure and research, the International Energy Agency estimates would require investments of $16.5trn by 2030.

Influential investors with $22trn in assets have previously helped reduce global corporate emissions by 641 million tonnes through collaboration with CDP’s Carbon Action initiative. Meanwhile, a £352bn coalition of investors including large insurer Aviva and major public and private funds in the UK, Norway and France was recently established to put pressure on some of the world’s biggest corporations to clean up their electricity sources.

The location of the UN investor summit was rather fitting as New York this week approved a 10-year, $5bn Clean Energy Fund designed to accelerate the growth of clean technology in the state.

Global carbon price

The summit also saw the UN’s Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres – speaking just days after her appearance in Davos – call for the implementation of a global carbon price, something which she realises may have to be developed through a bottom-up scale of business introduction instead of government policy.

“The investors are the architects of the future. With a transformation to clean energy & resilience, we can put the global economy on steroids,” Figueres said.

“We cannot put money into the wrong energy systems. The world cannot afford new oil and gas, and we cannot afford coal. A price on carbon makes it so much easier to make responsible decisions.” 

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie