By Anders Lorenzen
A coalition of organisations has called for more significant efforts toward sustainable finance.
In a joint statement, The World Council of Churches (WCC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Muslim Council of Elders and the NY Board of Rabbis made the appeal.
In what they herald as a landmark joint appeal, in Climate-Responsible Finance – a Moral Imperative towards Children, they argue that in the wake of the recent climate reports released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) it is critical to escalate the urgency of this challenge.
The joint appeal, which can be viewed here, calls upon financial service providers to take urgent and effective action to transition out of fossil fuel financing and to invest in renewable energies and research for climate solutions
The joint appeal states: “Accordingly we, leaders of the undersigned organisations, affirm our commitment to engaging with the financial institutions through which we bank, invest, and seek insurance coverage, to ensure that our financial dealings are aligned with the Paris Agreement objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°.” It further sets out: “We will review our pension, banking, insurance and other financial service arrangements to ensure evidence-based accountability in this regard, as a moral imperative and responsibility to all children and the living world.”
Stop all new fossil fuels projects
It calls upon financial service providers to require “oil and gas companies to stop all new development or expansion projects”. In particular, it points to projects in the Arctic region and encourages all financial institutions to join the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner, Banking and/or Insurance Alliances.
UN secretary-general, António Guterres, warmly supported the initiative, stating: “For too long, the financial services sector has enabled the world’s fossil fuel addiction. It is now time for financial service providers to accelerate the shift to renewables. They have the power – and the responsibility. The scientific and moral imperative is clear: there must be no new investment in fossil fuel expansion, including production, infrastructure and exploration.”
The appeal text concludes with strong encouragement to “all members of our constituencies and all our partners to do likewise, so that together we may move beyond words to effective action, and be the change for which we call.”
In addition, the appeal text urges organisations and citizens who care about children to endorse the statement.