Investors with $39 tln urge govts to plan fossil fuel phase out

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Stop sign stands in front of the Neurath lignite power plant

(This Sept. 13 story corrects name of group to "Investor Agenda," not "Investor Alliance," in last paragraph)

By Ross Kerber and Simon Jessop

BOSTON/LONDON (Reuters) - Investors managing $39 trillion have called on governments to raise their climate ambition, including setting plans to phase out fossil fuel use and forcing companies to set out science-based transition plans.

The move by some - but not all - top fund firms comes ahead of the next round of global climate talks in Egypt in November. This year's letter is the most ambitious appeal to officials yet, backers of the effort said, with additional requests for action on tackling methane pollution and scaling up finance to poorer countries.

Organised by the Investor Agenda, a group of investor-focused groups that count many of the world's largest fund managers as members, the "2022 Global Investor Statement to Governments on the Climate Crisis" was the 13th one to be issued.

“Investors are taking action as it is not only permitted by law but is in many cases required to ensure their ability to generate returns in the long-term as a core fiduciary duty and benefit from the opportunities associated with the shift to a net-zero emissions economy," the statement said.

Other requests by the investors included scaling up low-carbon energy systems; implementing carbon pricing mechanisms that rise over time; establishing new or more ambitious plans to end deforestation.

In all, 532 investors signed the latest iteration including UBS Asset Management, Amundi SA and Federated Hermes.

However, none of the top three U.S. index fund managers BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street Corp signed onto this letter.

The reticence comes as the process of investing with an eye on environmental, social and governance-related issues, or ESG, faces growing pressure in the United States.[L1N3011D2]

Representatives for BlackRock declined comment, while Vanguard did not respond to queries.

A representative for State Street, whose asset-management arm signed an Investor Agenda statement last year, declined to comment.

(Reporting by Simon Jessop in London and Ross Kerber in Boston; Editing by Marguerita Choy)