Investors worth £11bn urge Trump to stick with Paris Agreement ahead of withdrawal decision

An investor group worth more than £11.5bn has urged Donald Trump to maintain support for the Paris Agreement, amid rife speculation that the President could seek to pull out the US from the landmark climate change deal as early as this week.

The White House has confirmed that a “much smaller” US delegation is set to attend the UN climate change summit in Bonn this week

The White House has confirmed that a “much smaller” US delegation is set to attend the UN climate change summit in Bonn this week

A letter signed by 214 investors including Aviva, Hermes, HSBC, has urged nations to put policy measures in place to achieve their individual commitments with the “utmost urgency”. Clear policy mechanisms will be “vital” for investors to shift to clean investments to accelerate the low-carbon global economy, the group said.

“As long-term institutional investors, we believe that the mitigation of climate change is essential for the safeguarding of our investments,” the letter reads.

“The implementation of effective climate policy mechanisms and the regular monitoring of outcomes is vital for investors to make well-informed investment decisions that can also better support governments in delivering their national commitments and priorities.”

Stay or go?

The Trump administration is widely expected to make an announcement this week on future US involvement in the Paris Agreement. Senior White House figures met on two occasions last week to discuss withdrawal from the deal, which aims to keep the global average temperatures to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels.

It is understood that Trump was not present at either meeting, and the President’s personal view appears unclear, despite an initial stance that climate change was a “hoax” created by China. The White House is fiercely divided over whether to pull the US out of the Agreement, as reports claim that chief strategist Steve Bannon is in a deep battle with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who fear the move could have broad diplomatic ramifications.

The administration has hinted a decision will be made before the G7 summit in Italy on May 25-26, which Trump will attend on behalf of the US. The President has already signed executive actions which signal an intent to rollback support for environmental legislation, such as Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

The Environmental Protection Agency faces severe cuts under a proposed White House budget proposal, while the US recently admitted it currently has no plan on how to meet its 2020 climate target, a 17% reduction before 2005 levels. Despite the policymaking inertia, US renewables capacity continued on an upward trajectory in the first quarter of 2017, as figures show that wind additions grew by more than 50% year-on-year.

Bonn voyage

The White House has confirmed that a “much smaller” US delegation is set to attend the UN climate change summit in Bonn this week. The conference, which runs from May 8-18, will see senior government officials from almost 200 nations meet to discuss the detailed rules for the Paris deal.

The climate talks will be the first time since the UNFCC has convened since the Paris Agreement was ratified last November at COP22 in Marrakech, an event which was overshadowed by the electoral shock of Trump’s rise to presidency.

Charity organisation Christian Aid has said that the global momentum created by Paris must be maintained during the Bonn summit, despite the “mixed messages” coming out of the White House.

“In Bonn this week it’s important that progressive forces come together to manage any fall-out resulting from any US retreat,” Christian Aid’s international climate lead Mohamed Adow said. “They must provide leadership in crafting robust rules related to the implementation of the Paris Agreement ensuring real progress is made on the stocktake moment in 2018 to increase ambition and to make sure that this year’s COP23 summit in November is a success.”

Click here to view edie’s very own timeline which highlights the key environmental decisions of Trump’s climate policy regime so far. 

George Ogleby


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