PARIS (AP) — World leaders, investment funds and energy magnates promised Tuesday to devote new money and technology to slow global warming at a summit in Paris that President Emmanuel Macron hopes will rev up the Paris climate accord that U.S. President Donald Trump has rejected.
Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is welcomed by French President, left, before a lunch at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. More than 50 world leaders are gathering in Paris for a summit that Macron hopes will give new momentum to the fight against global warming, despite U.S. President Donald Trump's rejection of the Paris climate accord. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Trump wasn't invited to the event but his name was everywhere.
One by one, top world diplomats, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, business leaders like Michael Bloomberg and even former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry insisted that the world will shift to cleaner fuels and reduce emissions regardless of whether the Trump administration pitches in or not.
Central to Tuesday's summit is finding ways to counter Trump's main argument: that the 2015 Paris accord on reducing global emissions would hurt U.S. business.
Macron — a 39-year-old former investment banker who's using this summit to seize the global limelight — argues that the big businesses and successful economies of the future will be making and using renewable energy instead of pumping oil.
Bill Gates and Elon Musk are among the 164 prominent figures at the summit, where participants are announcing billions of dollars' worth of projects to help poor countries and industries reduce emissions.
The summit, co-hosted by the U.N., the World Bank and Macron, is being held on the second anniversary of the Paris climate accord, which was ratified by 170 countries. More than 50 heads of state and government are taking part.
Activists kept up pressure with a protest in the shadow of the domed Pantheon monument on Paris' Left Bank, calling for an end to all investment in oil, gas and resource mining.
That wasn't far from the message opening the summit: Top officials agreed that the global financial system isn't shifting fast enough away from carbon emissions and toward energy and business projects that don't aggravate climate change.
"Financial pledges need to flow faster through more streamlined system and make a difference on the ground," said Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, whose island nation is among those on the front lines of the rising sea levels and extreme storms worsened by human-made emissions.
"We are all in the same canoe," rich countries and poor, he said.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono described ways that Japan is investing in climate monitoring technology and hydrogen energy but said "we have to do more and better."
As the day progressed, announcements started rolling in.
A group of 225 investment funds managing more than $26 trillion in assets promised to pressure companies to curb their greenhouse gas emissions and to disclose climate-related financial information.
The group, which includes the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the largest U.S. public pension fund, says it will focus on 100 of the world's largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters.
Financial institutions are using the meeting to highlight the need to ensure that their investments don't suffer from, or contribute to, the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and more extreme weather.
Macron also hosted leading world philanthropists Tuesday morning to encourage more climate-related investment.
Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, says environmentalists owe Trump a debt of "gratitude" for acting as a "rallying cry" for action on climate change. Bloomberg said the private sector coalition called "America's Pledge," that promises to honor goals set in 2015, "now represents half of the U.S. economy."
Kerry told The Associated Press that many Americans remain "absolutely committed" to the Paris accord. He said 38 states have legislation pushing renewable energy and 90 major American cities support the Paris accord fighting global warming.
Some 3,100 security personnel fanned out around Paris for Tuesday's event, including extra patrol boats along the Seine River. Macron will accompany the visiting leaders to the summit site on a river island by boat.
On Monday, Macron awarded 18 climate scientists — most of them based in the U.S. — multimillion-euro grants to relocate to France for the rest of Trump's term.
The "Make Our Planet Great Again" grants — a counter to Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan — are part of Macron's efforts to counter Trump on the climate change front. Macron announced a contest for the projects in June, hours after Trump declared he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was once labeled the 'climate chancellor' for her efforts to curb global warming, faced domestic criticism for failing to attend the summit.
Meanwhile, in the Dutch city of The Hague, experts launched a plan Tuesday aimed at addressing threats created by problems such as water and food shortages. It called for the United Nations to create a special "climate security" envoy and urged better coordination on international migration issues.
It also demanded action to counter food shortages in Africa's Lake Chad Basin, security issues in Mali and water management in Iraq.
Frank Jordans in Berlin and Masha Macpherson in Paris contributed.
Follow the money: investors lead charge on climate change
By FRANK JORDANS , Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) — An international summit Tuesday to mark the second anniversary of the Paris climate agreement has drawn world leaders, celebrities, companies and environmental groups to the French capital, all aiming to keep up momentum on efforts to curb global warming.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, center, Sir Richard Branson, right, and special envoy to the U.N. for climate change Michael Bloomberg, second right, arrive for a meeting of philanthropists funding climate projects as part of the Climate Summit, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. More than 50 world leaders are gathering in Paris for a summit that Macron hopes will give new momentum to the fight against global warming, despite U.S. President Donald Trump's rejection of the Paris climate accord. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Financial institutions are using the meeting to highlight the need to ensure that their investments don't suffer from, or contribute to, the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and more extreme weather around the world.
Here are some of the major announcements and plans being considered at the Paris summit:
A group of institutional investors calling themselves Climate Action 100+ said it would use its financial clout to raise the issue of climate-related risk with companies.
The group, which comprises 225 investment funds managing more than $26 trillion in assets, said it will focus its efforts on 100 of the world's largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters.
The idea is that companies will heed the concerns of major funds because they don't want to be considered a bad investment due to the financial risks that climate change might pose for their business.
Over 200 companies have pledged greater transparency on reporting climate-related risks in their businesses as part of a voluntary program led by U.S. billionaire Michael Bloomberg.
The former New York mayor and Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England and chairman of the Financial Stability Board, said Tuesday that the number of companies supporting the program had more than doubled since its recommendations were first published in June.
The 237 companies , with a combined value of over $6.3 trillion, include construction firms, energy companies and financial institutions from 29 countries.
Carney said the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures plans to report on its efforts when leaders of the Group of 20 leading industrialized and emerging economies meet in Argentina in a year.
Dutch bank ING plans to have zero investments in coal power generation by 2025.
The company said Tuesday it expects fossil fuels to remain a key source of energy in the coming decades but wants to see the most polluting kind — coal — phased out.
ING said that rather than walk away from clients who don't meet its environmental risk policies, the bank will try to work with them to help improve their climate footprint.
It added, though, that "when engagement and improvement don't work, we don't provide financing."
Norwegian pension fund Storebrand said it's expanding its portfolio of fossil fuel-free investments to over $3 billion.
Storebrand, which has $80 billion in assets under management, said Tuesday that the move reflected growing public concern over climate change.
The company has recently tightened its rules, ditching investments in companies deemed to be among the most polluting as a result
French President Emmanuel Macron, who is hosting the summit, is proposing an increase in the cost of carbon emissions.
Macron said he believes the global economy needs a "shock" if the goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) is to be achieved.
Macron told French daily Le Monde that he doesn't favor outright bans on gasoline vehicles, for example, but rather financial incentives for companies to invest in renewable energy and new modes of production.
One such incentive would be to raise the minimum price of per metric ton of carbon dioxide to 30 euros ($35.39) — a position Macron acknowledged not all European countries agree on yet. Current prices for the greenhouse gas in Europe are up to five times lower. He told the newspaper that while carbon-intensive industries won't welcome such a move, "without this shock to change productive behavior, we will not get results."
Among the issues being discussed in Paris is how to increase financial support for poor countries, including for a U.N. fund meant to help put their economies on a climate-friendly track. The fund, agreed on in 2009, aims to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 but is currently about a third short.
The prime minister of the Pacific island nation of Fiji warned Tuesday that climate change should be considered a life or death issue for millions of people around the world.
Frank Bainimarama, who chaired last month's U.N. climate meeting in Bonn, Germany, said the financial resources required to shift the world economy onto a low-carbon path were there, but that the money needs to flow faster if it's going to make a difference on the ground.