Volume 5 Number 21
May 23, 2008

Group Says Lack of Clear Policy Undermines Long-Term Economic Competitiveness

More than 50 leading investors, including the nation’s largest public pension fund and the world’s largest listed hedge fund, called on the U.S. Senate to enact strong federal legislation to curb the pollution causing global warming. In advance of the upcoming Senate debate on the Lieberman-Warner climate bill early next month, the group issued a letter today to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling for a national climate policy to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60 to 90 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The request is similar to reductions that would be achieved under the Lieberman-Warner bill.

The group of investors, organized by Ceres and the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), announced the investor letter at a climate change conference today at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. The 52 signers include institutional investors, asset managers, treasurers and controllers such as the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), Deutsche Asset Management, F&C Asset Management, the Man Group (the world’s largest hedge fund), and treasurers and controllers for California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New York City, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. (See full list below.)

In sending the letter, investors sent a strong message that climate policy uncertainty and the lack of federal regulations may be undermining companies’ long-term competitiveness because it is preventing them from making large-scale capital investments in clean energy and other low-carbon technologies and practices.
“Establishing a strong national climate policy for emissions reductions will help investors manage the enormous risks and opportunities posed by global warming,” said Anne Stausboll, interim chief investment officer at CalPERS, the nation’s largest pension fund with $249 billion in assets under management. “In a world where energy consumption and carbon intensity are increasingly important, we must enact climate legislation that enables U.S. companies not only to compete in a carbon-constrained environment, but to lead in the transition to a clean, low-carbon global economy.”

“Investors hate uncertainty, and that’s the problem they face today,” said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres and director of INCR, in remarks being made today at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Strong and decisive action from Washington will open the floodgates on large-scale clean technology investments, enabling U.S. investors and businesses to lead instead of lag on climate change solutions.”

“It’s time for Congress to step up to the plate and tackle climate change. Any further delay is inexcusable,” said Oregon State Treasurer Randall Edwards, whose office manages $80 billion in assets. “The Lieberman-Warner bill would give investors like me the ability to see the risks involved so we can begin rebuilding our economy by investing in green technologies.”

The investor letter also calls on Senate leaders to press U.S. regulatory bodies – specifically, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – to issue specific guidance on what companies should disclose to investors on risks they face from climate change. Investors made the same such request in a petition they filed with the SEC last fall.

“Enacting climate policy legislation and enforcing climate-related information disclosure by businesses protects both our environment and our bottom line,” said Pennsylvania Treasurer Robin L. Wiessmann, whose office oversees $122 billion in assets. “The actions we call for today will create new investment opportunities in the clean technology sector and allow investors to thoroughly assess the opportunities and risks associated with the companies they do business with.”

Climate change is already having far-reaching impacts on businesses and investors. In particular, energy intensive companies in the electric power, oil, and auto
sectors face financial risks from carbon-reducing regulations that have been enacted in other countries and parts of the United States. Insurance companies and businesses with facilities in locations vulnerable to extreme weather events also face financial exposure. On the flip side, climate change presents significant economic opportunities for businesses that invest in renewable energy, low-emitting vehicles, and other technologies that save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Citing these trends – as well as recent scientific reports concluding that climate change is taking place and that human activities are the primary contributor – investors are calling for the Senate to take the following three actions:

• Enact legislation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60-90% by 2050. As noted in the letter, these reduction targets are consistent with last year’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading body of climate experts, which suggested the need for reductions 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80–95% below 1990 levels by 2050).
• Realign national energy and transportation policies to stimulate research, development and deployment of new and existing clean technologies at the scale necessary to achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals.

• Press the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to define the material climate-related issues that businesses should disclose to help investors understand the risks and opportunities related to climate change.

Full list of signatories:


California Public Employees' Retirement System
John Chiang, California State Controller
California State Teachers' Retirement System
Bill Lockyer, California State Treasurer
Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds
Alex Sink, Florida Chief Financial Officer
Nancy K. Kopp, Maryland State Treasurer
Timothy P. Cahill, Massachusetts State Treasurer
Orin S. Kramer, Chair, New Jersey State Investment Council
William G. Clark, Director, New Jersey Division of Investment
William C. Thompson, New York City Comptroller
Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller
Richard Moore, North Carolina State Treasurer
Randall Edwards, Oregon State Treasurer
Robin L. Wiessmann, Pennsylvania State Treasurer
Frank Caprio, Rhode Island General Treasurer
Stephen Abrecht, Service Employees International Union Master Trust Fund
Jeb Spaulding, Vermont State Treasurer
Joseph A. Dear, Executive Director, Washington State Investment Board


Geeta Aiyer, President, Boston Common Asset Management
Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President for Social Research and Policy, Calvert Asset Management Company
Mike Johnston, Executive Vice President, The Capital Group Companies (firm name for identification purposes only)
Mindy S. Lubber, President, Ceres and Director, Investor Network on Climate Risk
Francis G. Coleman, Executive Vice President, Christian Brothers Investment Services
Kevin Parker, Global Head of Asset Management, Deutsche Bank
Adam M. Kanzer, Managing Director & General Counsel, Domini Social Investments
Alain Grisay, CEO, F&C Investments
Generation Investment Management
Kristina Curtis, President, Green Century Funds
Vinod Khosla, Founder, Khosla Ventures
Peter D. Kinder, KLD Research & Analytics, Inc.
L. John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Jonathan Naimon, CEO, Light Green Advisors
Rob O. Challis, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility, Man Group
Mark Schwartz, Chairman, MissionPoint Capital Partners
Joseph Keefe, CEO, Pax World Funds
Stephen Dodson, President, Parnassus Funds
Joan Bavaria, President, Trillium Asset Management
Tim Smith, Director of Socially Responsive Investing, Walden Asset Management
Jack Robinson, President and CIO, Winslow Management Company


Pam Solo, President, Civil Society Institute
Jesse Fink, President, Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation
Germeshausen Foundation
Rev. William Somplatsky-Jarman, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Michael Crosby, OFMCap, The Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order
Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque, Iowa
Barbara Kraemer, OSF, U.S. Provincial, School Sisters of St Francis, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Patricia A. Daly, OP, Executive Director, Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment
Timothy Brennan, Treasurer, Unitarian Universalist Association
Timothy E. Wirth, President, United Nations Foundation
V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation
Wren W. Wirth, President, The Winslow Foundation

Ceres is a leading coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change. Ceres directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a network of 60 institutional investors focused on the business impacts from climate change. For more information, visit http://www.ceres.org or http://www.incr.com.