Are financiers greenwashing COP26?

Are financiers greenwashing COP26?

Quartz reports:

COP26 is nominally about reducing carbon emissions, but in practice it’s largely about capital—namely moving more of it into clean energy and climate adaptation and away from fossil fuels.

In the first two days of the UN’s COP26 climate summit, several rich countries promised to do this, pledging more climate finance to poorer countries: $10 billion from Japan, $7 billion from Italy, $260 million from Ireland. Scotland became the first country to officially take responsibility for “loss and damage” from climate impacts in developing countries by donating $1.3 million to the Climate Justice Resilience Fund.

These commitments move the world closer to the long-sought public finance goal of $100 billion, US climate envoy John Kerry said.

But the big number dominating the talks on Nov. 3, which organizers dubbed “Finance Day,” was $130 trillion. That’s the value of assets held by 450 financial institutions in 45 countries that have committed to a net-zero emissions target across some or all of their portfolio.

That sum is 25 times higher than it was a year ago, according to the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), a group organized by former Bank of England governor Mark Carney. Firms including banks, asset managers, and insurers are responding to public and government pressure to act on climate and face a future where high-carbon assets could become a major liability.

In theory, these institutions have enormous power to push companies to decarbonize. In practice, progress across the global economy has been relatively slow because capital is still flowing to most carbon-intensive industries, and because of the dearth of regulation. [Continue reading…]

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