A number of Canadian institutional investors, including the British Columbia Investment Management Corp., the British Columbia Municipal Pension Plan, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and the Investment Management Corp. of Ontario, are among 457 signatories of a statement calling on governments around the globe to take accelerated action to combat the climate crisis.

In the statement, the signatories, which represent a total of more than US$41 trillion in assets, are asking governments to significantly strengthen their nationally determined contributions for 2030 and to ensure a planned transition to net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.

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To do this, the group is calling for a commitment to a domestic mid-century, net-zero emissions target and to outline a pathway with ambitious interim targets, including clear decarbonization roadmaps for each carbon-intensive sector and implementing domestic policies to deliver these targets, including incentivizing private investments in zero-emissions solutions, enacting robust carbon pricing, removing fossil fuel subsidies by set deadlines, phasing out thermal coal-based electricity generation by set deadlines, avoiding new carbon-intensive infrastructure and developing just transition plans for affected workers and communities.

In addition, the signatories are calling for governments to ensure economic recovery plans in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to support the transition to net-zero emissions and enhance resilience by facilitating investment in zero-emissions energy and transport infrastructure, avoiding public investment in new carbon-intensive infrastructure and requiring carbon-intensive companies that receive government support to enact climate change transition plans consistent with the Paris climate agreement. As well, they’re asking world governments to commit to implementing mandatory climate risk disclosure requirements as recommended by a U.N. taskforce.

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Investors across the globe are seeking to decrease their exposure to climate risk as a core fiduciary duty and benefit from the opportunities associated with the transition to a net-zero emissions economy, noted the statement. However, it said their efforts are limited by the ambition gap between current government commitments set out in NDCs and the emission reductions needed to limit global average temperature rise to 1.5-degrees Celsius.

The signatories noted world nations that set ambitious targets in line with achieving net-zero emissions and implement consistent national climate policies in the short-to-medium term will become increasingly attractive investment destinations, while those that fail to do so will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.