Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

15 Dec 2017

The long road from Paris

Posted by Michael Keating

The world’s greatest challenge is whether we can make the transition to a sustainable lifestyle fast enough to avoid environmental catastrophe. The signal issue is climate change. Earlier this week, on the second anniversary of the historic Paris climate accord, French President Emmanuel Macron held the One Planet Summit. It brought more than 50 world leaders, as well as CEOs, celebrities, philanthropists and investment fund managers to Paris. President Macron had a sobering message, saying the world is “losing the battle” against climate change.

The meeting sought to mobilize billions of dollars in financing to help poor countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and there were encouraging signs. More than 200 institutional investors managing $26 trillion said they would increase pressure on the biggest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to fight climate change. The World Bank said it will virtually stop financing upstream oil and gas projects after 2019. Norwegian pension fund Storebrand will issue a $1.9-billion bond that will exclude investments in fossil fuel companies. Dutch bank ING said that by end of 2025 it will stop funding any utility that relies on coal for more than five per cent of its energy.

At a green economy forum in Toronto later in the week, Green Party leader Elizabeth May said Canada has been regularly missing targets for greenhouse gas reductions, and this is “a failure of leadership…the problem has always been a lack of political will.” She said one of the biggest problems facing government is a long-term shift in influence in which corporate power trumps political power.

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