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Climate Change

Paris 2015 climate change meeting, will it mean much?

Various people more learned than myself have been telling me that the Paris 2015 meeting on climate change is set to the most significant meeting since the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference.

That, of course, was a disappointment to most, and interest in global deals seem to have sunk to record lows in the modern era since then.

Paris though, people tell me, may be different. I’ve had my doubts, given that apparently 82% of global power is generated from fossil fuels today, according to the IEA.

However, this article gave me pause for thought. Here’s a few extracts below. Let us hope those quoted are right.

The sceptic in me says this is UN sources looking for friendly media, but some of the numbers give one cause for eventual hope, perhaps.

Climate change: Carbon trading edges closer as UN brokers deal

“The world is on the brink of enlisting market forces in the fight against climate change on a truly global scale for the first time, United Nations officials have claimed.

After years of opposition, hundreds of the world’s major companies and investment firms – including several oil giants – have agreed that there should be a charge for the damage done to the planet by greenhouse gases.

This means that an international carbon market – in which companies buy and sell the right to produce harmful emissions – is now close to becoming a reality.

So far, 74 countries, including the EU, China and Russia, but not the US, Canada, Japan or Australia, and 1,000 businesses – from oil firms BP and Statoil to giant corporations such as Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Unilever – have signed up to a UN declaration in support of carbon pricing.

And a group of 354 major institutional investors, such as BlackRock, the BT Pension Scheme, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Rothschild & Cie Gestion, have also agreed to call on governments to “provide stable, reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing that helps redirect investment commensurate with the scale of the climate change challenge”. Collectively, they handle about £15trn in assets – more than the United States’ GDP.”

This all sounds lovely, but a year ago this pensions publication was pointing out that:

“Total assets under management of the largest 500 money managers worldwide jumped 8.2% to $68 trillion in 2012, with U.S.-based managers controlling the largest market share in a decade, according to the Pensions & Investments/Towers Watson World 500 ranking.”

So quite a long way to go then. Something tells me market mechanisms alone, or as currently used, are not going to get us there.