Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors comments on the decision of the US to withdraw from the Paris climate deal:
"The Paris agreement is the pinnacle of international diplomacy. As a global investor and insurer, we urge governments to look forwards to a carbon neutral economy and not backwards to a fossil fuel past.
"President Trump's decision to withdraw is hence troubling, and implies financial and economic loss for the international community, as well as the US. But crucially, it does not equate to the unravelling of the hard-won accord. Markets can move ahead with clarity on the US position. The European Union and China have also indicated that they are ready to step up and provide leadership that will hopefully fill any vacuum.
"More importantly, previous investment in new technology is paying off, endorsing the financial significance of the transition to a carbon neutral economy. Developing countries are realising that renewable energy makes economic sense. Developed countries will not be far behind.
"Private capital is, meanwhile, increasing its role as a partner for local government in the fight against climate risk. Many US cities and states, including New York and Los Angeles, have already embraced green energy projects.
"Investors too are using their influence with companies to affect positive change. Only this week, shareholders in oil major Exxon continued to back a resolution requiring the company to assess the risks of climate change to its business plan. Initiatives that bring investors and companies closer together, such as the FSB’s task force on climate-related financial disclosure, will be even more important in the wake of the US withdrawal."