Money Your Super Superannuation investors call for strong government climate action
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Superannuation investors call for strong government climate action

Climate policy inadequate.
Low carbon investment needs better policy support. Photo: Getty
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The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors has called on the Turnbull government to take concerted, economy-wide action on climate change, saying Australia’s climate policies are inadequate and will not drive the investment required to enable a smooth and efficient transition to a low carbon economy.

“Investors are frustrated at a decade of policy uncertainty and the failure of government to deal with climate change in a manner that reflects its systemic economic implications. Long-term investors need long-term policy certainty,” ACSI said in a submission to the Department of Energy’s Review of climate change policies.

ACSI said Australia had been one of nearly 200 countries signing on to the Paris agreement on climate change in 2015. However policy response to date had been inconsistent and inadequate to achieve the stated aims of that agreement.

“The mid-term reduction in the RET target is a clear example of the impact of policy shifts directly resulting in a significant drop in investments flowing into renewable energy projects.”

“A global economic transition is underway, focused on reducing the emissions intensity of economic activity to stabilise global warming at less than 2°C and move towards a net zero emissions economy by the second half of the century.” But achieving this goal would require strong policy leadership from Canberra, ASCI’s submission said.

The global economic transition offered significant opportunities for Australian businesses. However, the current sector-by-sector approach to climate policy represented by the government’s direct action policy will not enable businesses to best access these opportunities.

“Australia’s climate policies must be able to translate at a global level so that Australian businesses remain competitive and can fully engage with global carbon markets to best meet the Paris Agreement goals,” the submission said.

“In 2017, Australia’s climate policies appear inadequate to meet these goals and will not drive the investment required to enable a smooth and efficient transition to a low carbon economy. Investors are frustrated at a decade of policy uncertainty and the failure of government to deal with climate change in a manner that reflects its systemic economic implications,” ACSI said.

ASCI made the following recommendation on climate policy.

  • emphasises the following recommendations pertinent to the Australian government
  • Set long-term emissions reduction targets and climate policies to 2050 aligned with achieving the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global average temperature rise to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels and preferably to 1.5°C.
  •  Drive investment into the low carbon transition by introducing carbon pricing and developing a plan to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
  • Set minimum efficiency/emissions standards across the transport, building, industrial and appliance sectors
  •  Ensure that measures are designed to allow Australian business to fully participate in global trade and carbon markets.
  • Implement climate-related financial reporting frameworks, including supporting the TCFD recommendations.

ACSI is a collaboration of 30 Australian profit-for-members superannuation funds and six major international pension funds. Its Australian member funds manage over $450 billion in assets on behalf of over eight million superannuants and retirees.

Its combined membership manages over $1.5 trillion and own more than 11 per cent of every ASX200 listed company. It is a member of the Investor Group on Climate Change .

*The New Daily is owned by a group of industry super funds.