President Joe Biden is set to issue an executive order on climate disclosure within capital markets, a move that could shift investments overall with implications for the fossil-fuel and renewables sectors, according to U.S. climate envoy John Kerry.
“President Biden is poised to issue an executive order that will require disclosure,” Kerry said at an International Monetary Fund event Wednesday. “It’s going to change allocation of capital. Suddenly people are going to be making evaluations considering long-term risk to the investment based on the climate crisis.”
The White House has not offered further details on such an order.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month indicated that corporations will have to disclose more to shareholders about the risks from climate change and its effect on business. The commission has opened a public comment period on any potential rule change. Shareholders have increasingly used the proxy process to push boards on Environmental, Social and Governance issues and the SEC’s attention to the issue has stepped up.
Meanwhile, Kerry said as part of this week’s developments that the U.S. would support India’s climate plans. The U.S. will help India access the technologies and finance to achieve those goals, a pledge of cooperation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet officials predict would result in faster deployment of clean technologies.
Kerry is in India this week to talk to Asian energy leaders and push Modi’s government to boost its climate ambitions as it considers announcing a net zero target ahead of a virtual, U.S.-hosted summit later this month.
India, the world’s third-biggest emitter after the U.S. and China, has come under pressure to intensify its climate commitments ahead of a meeting of leaders from 40 nations organized by Biden that will run from April 22-23 and ahead of formal United Nations climate talks in Glasgow in November.
A 2047 target for India’s net zero pledge is being considered, officials told Bloomberg, earlier this year, a date that marks the centenary of India’s independence from British rule. A 2050 pledge has been broadly adopted by other nations.
When President Trump pulled the U.S. from the voluntary Paris climate accord, he sited allegations of lagging emissions reductions from China and India. Some Republican lawmakers have said any climate-change initiatives, including those linked to trade deals, must factor in the reliability of developing nations in meeting and reporting climate goals.
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China announced a net zero target by 2060 last year. The Biden administration has said it is aiming for net zero U.S. emissions by 2050 but is expected to outline soon what such a path could look like by 2030.
The U.S. and China account for about 45% of all global emissions.
Biden’s infrastructure proposal calls for the U.S. invest $35 billion into clean technologies and spend $174 billion on overhauling the country’s EV market. Congressional approval is needed.
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Global leaders are positioning themselves on this key topic ahead of Biden’s climate summit and the Glasgow meeting.
The head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, has this week emphasized at IMF-World Bank meetings the role she sees for financial institutions when it comes to slowing global warming. She had a public panel discussion with Kerry on Wednesday as part of those meetings.
“2021 has the potential to be THE year of climate action,” Georgieva said.
“We have the G-7 presidency making [climate change] a priority, the G-20 making this a priority,” she said. “We have Cop-26 [in Glasgow]. We have science speaking loud and clear and we have multilateral environment where countries are stepping up with their commitments to net zero in 2050 and in the case of China, 2060. Using this to build strong momentum is what we at the IMF strongly support.”
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