Investors warn of severe financial crash if climate action isn't taken

A group of more than 400 investors managing $32 trillion in assets warned governments to take more aggressive steps to address climate change or risk a financial crash several times worse than the 2008 global recession, The Guardian reported.

In a letter released at the COP24 climate meeting in Poland, the investors called on nations to end fossil fuel subsidies, invest in low-carbon technologies, phase out coal-fired power plants, put a price on carbon emissions, and make drastic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

The global investment firm Schroders, a signatory of the new “Global Investor Statement,” estimates that if governments fail to take action and the world warms by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit), it could cause $23 trillion in global economic losses over the next 80 years — three to four times the scale of the 2008 global financial crisis.

“The long-term nature of the challenge has, in our view, met a zombie-like response by many,” Chris Newton, executive director of responsible investment for IFM Investors, which manages $80 billion in assets, said in a statement. “This is a recipe for disaster as the impacts of climate change can be sudden, severe and catastrophic.”

The call from investors came just one day after the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait — four of the world’s largest fossil fuel producers — worked to dismiss recent scientific findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which concluded that the world has just over a decade to stop the worse impacts of climate change. At climate talks in Poland, the four countries challenged language endorsing the findings and officially incorporating them into negotiations, rather than just making note of them.

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