Investors urge governments to act on climate change

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Global investors representing $13 trillion in assets called on the United States and other countries on Thursday to adopt policies to fight climate change they said would unleash a potential flood of private money into renewable and efficient energy.

“Without policies that create a stable investment environment our hands are tied,” Anne Stausboll, chief executive of the California Public Employees Retirement System, a pension fund with more than $205 billion in assets, said at a meeting called the Investor Summit on Climate Risk.

“We are ready and willing to up the ante to finance the transition to a low carbon global economy but you need to have the courage to act,” said Mindy Lubber, the president of Ceres, a coalition of investors and environmentalists which was hosting the meeting.

More than 20 countries, including China and the United States, agreed to a non-binding Copenhagen Accord at a U.N. climate summit last month. They are hoping at least 100 countries sign on to the accord by pledging carbon cuts or action on climate in order to show the momentum needed to form a binding global agreement, a Western diplomat said.

But the United States, the world’s second-largest emitter, has not formed a national plan to cut emissions as climate legislation has stalled in the Senate. And major developing countries want the United States to act first before agreeing to take binding action.

Opportunities for investing in the low carbon economy have been proven, investors said. A Deutsche Bank report released on Thursday found companies that specialize in renewable energy like wind, solar and geothermal power and energy efficiency outperformed peers across the wider global economy last year and expected that to continue in 2010.

“Until the U.S. Congress passes climate regulation, America will be at a competitive disadvantage in the development of renewable energy and other climate change industries,” said Kevin Parker, the bank’s head of global asset management, which had $695 billion in assets as of September 2009.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; editing by Todd Eastham