A new 'playbook' for financing a climate-constrained world

A new 'playbook' for financing a climate-constrained world

Harper Matsuyama, via Ceres

As scientists concluded in the recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, avoiding the worst effects of climate change will require an all-hands-on-deck transformation of the global economy.

That transformation will take innovation and money.

Luckily, both are moving in the right direction. Technology developments in energy efficiency, clean energy, and zero-emissions transportation quickly are evolving and require capital in order to reach the scale needed to curb global climate change.

Meanwhile, increasing numbers of investors seek low-carbon opportunities to invest in. In fact, in recent survey responses to the Investor Agenda, 400 major investors indicated they’re pursuing at least one of four actions on climate, including moving funds into low-carbon investments.

And that’s a very good thing. Experts estimate more than $1 trillion a year of global clean energy investment is needed for us to meet the threshold of avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Ceres calls this climate finance challenge the Clean Trillion.

But this all begs the question: Are the investors interested in low-carbon opportunities finding promising low-carbon innovations and project deployments? Can asset owners, bound by fiduciary duty to maximize returns for clients, find the types of investments they need in the emerging low-carbon landscape?

Enter the Climate Finance Playbook. I sat down with Dan Carol, senior advisor for infrastructure and energy in California Gov. Jerry Brown’s office, as well as friends from Principles for Responsible Investment and the Rockefeller Foundation to put this guide together to help investors navigate these questions as many investors gathered at the Global Climate Action Summit in September. 

Click here (PDF) to download the playbook.