Norway’s PM Erna Solberg and French president Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace on Friday. Photo: Johan Falnes / NTB Scanpix
Six sovereign wealth funds pledged on 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 initiative, which was unveiled by Macron and Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg at a press conference on Friday.
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.
Environmentalist critics charge that his government has had a lacklustre record in its first year, however, giving ground to powerful farming and industrial lobbies.
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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