GLOBAL - New mechanisms need to be found to develop more climate change-related investments, according to Nick Robins, head of the Climate Change Centre of Excellence at HSBC.

Speaking at The Copenhagen Effect event in London last week - where the panel widely deemed Copenhagen's Conference of Parties (COP) 15 in December a failure - Robins suggested: "Perhaps we need lock in the very low ambition and consensus that we have, secure that and then find other mechanisms, which stimulate much more enthusiasm for investments in the low-carbon transformation.

"The negotiations [in Copenhagen] misperceived climate change as an environmental protection problem while it is an externality that bears a cost and is a burden that is to be shared," said Robins.

He argued the institutional investment community has a core role to play in the area of climate change, and pointed to the €1bn commitment by the DKK420bn (€56.5bn) Danish Labour Market Supplementary Pension Fund ATP, to emerging market climate change investments, as an example of making progress.

Despite the failure by politicians to agree binding global emissions targets in Copenhagen, investor efforts to tackle the problem do not seem to be slowing. On 14 January, global investors met at the Investor Summit on Climate Risk in New York to discuss critical next steps for kick-starting worldwide investment in a low-carbon economy.

The 2010 Investor Statement on Catalysing Investment in a Low-Carbon Economy - announced at the summit - said, among others: "While we will continue to press for an international agreement, we come to the United Nations today to collectively say that investors, businesses, and governments cannot wait for a global treaty before taking action. In particular, countries can act now to catalyse development of a low-carbon economy and to attract the vast amount of private capital necessary for such a transformation."

It continued: "Prudence and fiduciary duty compel us to continue our efforts to scrutinise investments vulnerable to climate-related risks (regulatory, physical, competitive, and others), to search for sound investment opportunities in clean technologies and adaptation, and to work with the companies in which we invest, to boost their attention, preparation, and response to climate-related business impacts, challenges, and opportunities."

The statement called for strong emission reduction targets, price signals on carbon, energy and transportation policies, financing mechanisms to accelerate private climate investment, and adaptation measures to reduce unavoidable climate impacts and disclosure.

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