Thursday, May 14, 2015

U.N. Climate Chief Slams Fossil Fuel Investments, Outlines Steps for Paris Deal

Christiana Figueres is the executive secretary of the UN climate initiative. (Photo Credit: UNFCCC) Click to Enlarge.
On the heels of President Obama's controversial decision to greenlight renewed oil drilling in the Arctic, the United Nations' top climate change official yesterday declared that fossil fuels have become an unwise investment.

Christiana Figueres, who leads the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, avoided commenting directly on the White House move allowing Royal Dutch Shell to begin exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea.  But she noted that oil and gas reserves must stay underground and give way to renewable energy in order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2100.

"We have absolutely no opinion about what governments do with companies that operate within their geographic boundaries," she said.  "But there is an increasing amount of analysis that points to the fact that we will have to keep the great majority of fossil fuels underground."

Figueres argued that a financial risk also lies ahead for those who invest in dirty fuels or bank on the hope that oil prices will climb back past $100 per barrel.

"It is very evident that climate policy is advancing and progressing, so one wonders whether that kind of investment is prudent and actually within the fiduciary duty of investors," she said.

Speaking to reporters in an online roundtable, Figueres also outlined the steps the United Nations and 193 countries are taking as they work to develop a new international climate accord.  The deal is expected to be signed in Paris in December, and will for the first time include commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions from rich and poor nations alike.

The agreement is expected to go into effect by 2020 and will include carbon-cutting targets from countries going out to 2025 or 2030.

Read more at U.N. Climate Chief Slams Fossil Fuel Investments, Outlines Steps for Paris Deal

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