BCN-15,16 Macron rallies sovereign wealth funds against climate change

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Macron rallies sovereign wealth funds against climate change

PARIS, July 7, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Six sovereign wealth funds will pledge
Friday to fight climate change at a meeting hosted by Emmanuel Macron, as the
French president pushes his “make our planet great again” message.

The funds manage assets with a total value of $3 trillion and include that
of Norway, the biggest in the world, valued alone at $1 trillion.

Four Gulf funds — those of Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab
Emirates — have also signed up to the charter, which commits them to
investing in companies that factor climate risks into their strategies.

New Zealand’s sovereign wealth fund has also joined the imitative, set to
be unveiled by Macron and Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg at a press
conference Friday evening.

The funds — mainly fed by revenues from the fossil fuels blamed for global
warming — have also promised to publish data on how they are reducing their
carbon footprint as many countries across the globe shift to cleaner energy.

“The transition to a low-carbon economy creates new investment
opportunities,” the six funds said in the charter.

They expressed hope that the agreement would help “tilt the trajectory of
the world economy towards sustainable growth and avoid catastrophic risks for
the planet”.

The funds first agreed to work together on environmental issues at the “One
Planet Summit” in France in December, organised by Macron after US President
Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord.

Trump, who faced global condemnation for the June 2017 decision, painted
the agreement as a “bad deal” for the US economy.

With his catchphrase “Make our planet great again” — a riposte to a
favourite slogan by Trump, a climate change denier — Macron has pitched
himself as a leading figure in rallying the world to action against global
warming.

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Environmentalist critics charge that his government has had a lacklustre
record in its first year, however, giving ground to powerful farming and
industrial lobbies.

In December, France backed a new EU plan to combat endocrine disruptors —
chemicals which can cause tumours and birth defects — which was criticised
as too weak by many scientists and NGOs.

Macron had also promised that France would ban the controversial pesticide
glyphosate within three years, but has ultimately left it to industry bodies
to self-regulate and phase out the chemical by 2021.

A target to reduce France’s reliance on nuclear power for electricity to 50
percent from 75 percent has also been put aside until after 2025 — though
Macron maintains this is necessary to ensure France meets its emissions
targets.

Macron’s supporters argue that he is being pragmatic on the environment,
giving political backing to green causes while taking gradual steps towards
more eco-friendly policies.

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