Investors overseeing more than $11tn in assets, including Schroders, Legal & General Investment Management and two of the biggest US pension funds, have called on power companies to commit to ending coal use by 2030 and spell out preparations for a global shift towards low-carbon fuels. In a letter to the Financial Times on Thursday, investors led by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and members of the Climate Action 100+ organization have urged European utilities to set timelines for eliminating coal-fired power generation in the EU and industrialized nations.
They have also demanded that companies including Centrica and National Grid of the UK, France’s EDF, Spain’s Iberdrola and Germany’s RWE set targets for meeting the goals of the 2015 Paris climate change agreement to limit global temperature rises to below 2C from pre-industrial levels. $11.5tn The value of assets held by the 95 institutional investors signed up to the letter calling for action on climate change The world has already warmed by about 1C, largely due to emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
Investor pressure is growing on the energy sector — from oil and gas groups to power companies — to take responsibility for their contributions to climate change. As a carbon-intensive natural resource, coal is at the heart of the global debate on energy and climate policy. “Decarbonisation of the power sector, which accounts for around a quarter of global emissions, will define the success or failure of the low-carbon transition since it is fundamental to also decarbonizing heat, transport and industry,” the letter stated.
“We require power companies — including power generators, grid operators and distributors — to plan for their future in a net-zero carbon economy,” it added. Investors are not only concerned that the operations of these companies are bringing about climate change faster, but that assets owned and operated by major energy companies could become uneconomic should governments pursue the Paris goals.