Investor delegations address Poznań UN climate change conference

Poland conference is final stage before Copenhagen successor to Kyoto.

Institutional investors and insurance companies have sent major delegations to this week’s Poznań COP 14 UN climate change conference to lobby for a strong, long-term, binding framework to fight global warming. The London-based Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) will deliver a message on behalf of over 135 institutional investors representing $6.4 trillion – the world’s biggest ever investor coalition in co-operation with the Boston-based Investor Network on Climate Risk and the Australian and New Zealand Investor Group on Climate Change – that the financial crisis should not delay efforts to address rising global temperatures. Their proposals include the adoption of the 50%-85% global greenhouse gas emissions cuts in developed countries by 2050 recommended by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The coalition is also backing calls for developing countries to cut emissions levels, albeit on a reduced basis. In addition, ClimateWise, which represents 42 insurance companies including some of the world’s giants such as Allianz, AIG and Swiss Re, will back the IPCC recommendations and call for all countries to implement national climate change adaptation plans. The insurance coalition is also recommending that governments create an international body for collecting and sharing climate risk data,as well as a review of synergies between climate adaptation and mitigation measures.
The insurers said that annual industry losses from wind storms could increase by two thirds later in this century and the chances of very hot summers in Europe, such as in 2003 when at least 22,000 people died prematurely, had recently doubled. Andrew Torrance, chairman of ClimateWise, who has been invited to deliver the statement in person to the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Poznań at a briefing on December 8, said: “The insurance sector is one that most directly experiences the impacts of climate change. ClimateWise members are ready to explore how best to extend the benefits of their expertise to those affected by climate risk, and governments must create the framework in which this can take place. Insurance cannot be an alternative to adaptation, rather robust adaptation is a necessary condition for insurers to play a full role. ”
The Poznań conference follows from last year’s COP 13 meeting in Bali and is the precursor to the major COP 15 conference in Copenhagen next year where negotiations will be finalised for the post 2012 period when the Kyoto Protocol runs out.