Planet A Investment: a new Fossil Free SA newsletter for financial professionals

This year we are launching an additional newsletter, Planet A Investment, for financial professionals. Take a look at the first of many newsletters to come below. If this is something you’d like to continue receiving, sign up for the update straight to your inbox.

Cut global emissions by 7.6% every year for next decade to meet 1.5°C Paris target, says UN report

This is the start of a new decade, a decade in which, if we are to avoid the worst of climate breakdown, the global economy must be absolutely transformed and set on a clear path towards very deep decarbonisation, as former UNFCCC Christiana Figueres and the UN Environment Programme have made clear (article in Nature. Perhaps you too think this is impossible. Perhaps you can’t imagine it happening. But we have to get it done.

  • Investors must move capital out of fossil fuels as fast as possible and catalyse new opportunities for sustainable reinvestment
  • Investors must become public advocates of enhanced action by government to increase ambition, set aside all new investment in fossil fuels, and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
  • Investee companies must adopt transition plans for decarbonisation of ~50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

South African academics have done an extensive analysis of responsible investment practice in South Africa, concluding that it is ‘mostly superficial’. The study reveals the cynicism of many fund managers about ESG in practice. We believe, however, that there are enough fund managers who would like to do the right thing and invest for a safer planet. But they’re too swamped with short-term signals to understand the full implications of the climate and related crises, and doing too little to persuade asset owners that they can confidently adopt a new way of doing things.

Why is the world not acting faster on climate change? One key reason is of course the systematic obstructionism of the fossil fuel industry, at last showing signs of crumbling. But another is misguided under-estimates of the likely damage done by climate change, not least by supposedly expert economists. Here are some articles outlining how and why they dangerously under-estimate climate damage:

Progress and solutions

Climate crisis

Australia burns. Zambia starves. SA dehydrates.

Divestment and ESG

SA philanthropies and universities must now take the lead in fostering a new responsible investment asset class in South Africa.

Fossil fuel industry

Other insights

Selected sustainability crisis indicators

  • Atmospheric CO2: 413 ppm . 133 ppm above pre-industrial, still accelerating. | Source
  • Inequality: Top 10% of South Africans get 63% of national income, 16% more than in US. | Source | How this is linked to climate
  • Corporate leadership: SA companies with science-based emissions reduction targets: 10 | Source
  • Rate of decarbonisation required to meet 1.5C global warming target: 7.8% a year | Source
  • SA universities actively divesting from fossil fuels: 0
  • SA foundations actively divesting from fossil fuels: 0
  • SA religious bodies actively divesting from fossil fuels: 0
  • SA fossil-free investment funds: 0
  • Global fossil fuel divestment commitments: 1184 institutions, AUM worth $14 trillion | Source

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