Investors from the world’s biggest companies have warned that governments around the world need to tackle climate change or face another financial crash.
Gathered at a UN summit today, the investors, charged with managing $32tn of the world’s money, issued a warning to end all coal burning and introduce taxes on emissions.
Without action the world could face a financial crash several times worse than the 2008 crisis.
Chris Newton of IMF Investors said: “The long-term nature of the challenge has, in our view, met a zombie-like response by many.”
He continued, saying that: “This is a recipe for disaster as the impacts of climate change can be sudden, severe and catastrophic.”
One investment firm warned that there could be $32tn of global economic losses every single year unless rapid action were put into place.
Lord Nicholas Stern, of the London School of Economics said: “The low-carbon economy is the growth story of the 21st century and it is inclusive growth. Without that story, we would not have got the 2015 Paris agreement, but the story has grown stronger and stronger and is really compelling now.”
It is expected that some of the world’s largest nations will pledge to end coal burning this Thursday, with the exception of the US, which is to promote “clean coal” during the conference.
Over $500bn has also been spent on new coal plants in Japan, China, and the US since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2016.
Investors at the summit are also campaigning to end subsidies for coal, oil, and gas. This single measure could cut global CO2 emissions by 10% according to a UN report.
In October some of the world’s leading scientists warned that there is only 12 years left for global warming to be kept to a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C.
It is thought that if temperatures rise beyond that, there would be a significantly increased risk of droughts, floods, and extreme heat; resulting in poverty and starvation for millions of people around the world.
Currently, the planet is 1°C warmer than preindustrial levels.