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February 14, 2008


DiNapoli Joins U.S. and European Investors to
Combat Climate Change Risks

Investors Make Bold Commitments to Energy Efficiency and Other
Clean Technologies, Require Closer Scrutiny of Carbon-Intensive Investments

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today joined U.S. and European institutional investors who collectively manage more than $1.75 trillion in assets in releasing a climate change action plan that will boost investments in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies and require tougher scrutiny of carbon-intensive investments that may pose long-term financial risks. The action plan was announced at the Investor Summit on Climate Risk, hosted by Ceres and the United Nations Foundation.

“It takes a global commitment to address the risks posed by climate change,” said DiNapoli, the sole trustee of the $154.5 billion Common Retirement Fund. “New York is doing its part: The Fund has already committed more than $130 million to investments in renewable energy, and we are actively seeking new opportunities in this space. Today’s action plan requires corporations to disclose the risks that climate change poses to their specific businesses. Increased disclosure allows investors to better leverage their capital in ways that reduces portfolio risk while pushing companies to shrink their carbon footprint.”

“This action plan reflects the many investment opportunities that exist today to put a dent in global warming pollution, build profits and benefit the global economy,” said Mindy S. Lubber, president of the Ceres investor coalition and director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk. “Leveraging the vast energy efficiency opportunities at home and abroad holds especially great promise for investors.”

The more than 450 investors, financial and corporate leaders pledged to collectively invest $10 billion in clean technology opportunities over the next two years and to incorporate green building standards into their investment decisions. Calling energy efficiency "one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to significantly reduce emissions and improve the bottom line," the investor group pledged to reduce energy use in core real estate holdings by 20 percent over the next three years.

The action plan calls for a series of specific steps by investors to address the growing risks and opportunities from climate change. The nine goals include policy actions aimed at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Congress, engagement with companies to improve their disclosure and responses to climate change, minimizing climate investment risks and maximizing climate-related investment opportunities.

Among the investor commitments:

  • Support clean technology, with a goal of deploying $10 billion collectively over the next two years
  • Aim for a 20 percent reduction in energy used in core real estate investment holdings over a three-year period, and consider green building standards in making investment decisions.
  • Require and validate that investment managers, investment consultants and advisors report on how they are assessing climate risks in their portfolios, whether from new carbon-reducing regulations, physical impacts or competitive risks.
  • Encourage Wall Street analysts, rating agencies and investment banks to analyze and report on the potential impacts of foreseeable long-term carbon costs, in the range of $20 to $40 per metric ton of CO2, particularly on carbon-intensive investments such as new coal-fired power plants, oil shale, tar sands and coal-to-liquid projects.
  • Push the SEC to issue guidance leading to full corporate disclosure of climate risks and opportunities.
  • Push Congress for a mandatory national policy to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the 60-90 percent reductions below 1990 levels by 2050 that scientists suggest is urgently needed to avoid the worst and most costly impacts from climate change.

The summit comes as worldwide investor attention on climate change dramatically increases. In the last two years, investor and asset manager participation in the Investor Network on Climate Risk has more than doubled, to more than 60 institutional investors and with collective assets totaling $4.5 trillion.

About the New York State Common Retirement Fund
The $154.5 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund is the third largest public pension plan in the United States with more than one million members, retirees and beneficiaries from state and local governments. Comptroller DiNapoli is the sole trustee of the fund and manages a diversified portfolio of public and private equities, fixed income, real estate and alternative investments.

About Ceres and INCR
Ceres is a leading coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as climate change. Ceres also directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR). For more information, visit www.ceres.org and www.incr.com.

 

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