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Aruba, January 29, 2016 - After Paris Climate Talks, Investors Wrestle With How To Pay For Clean Energy Transition

Less than a month after world leaders meeting in Paris signed a sweeping deal to fight climate change, a major question looms: Who will pay for the plan? Curbing the planet’s carbon emissions and shifting away from fossil fuels will require investments on the order of $1 trillion a year — more than triple what the world now spends on solar, wind and other renewable energy supplies.
With that clean energy investment gap in mind, over 500 global investors gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York City Wednesday in the first major meeting since the U.N. climate summit in Paris last month. Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary-general, urged attendees at the Investor Summit on Climate Risk — including institutional investors, state treasurers and corporate executives — to at least double their climate-related investments within the next five years.
“I call on the investor community to build on the strong momentum from Paris and seize the opportunities for clean energy growth,” he told the group of investors, who together represent more than $22 trillion in financial assets. “Sustainable, clean energy is growing, but not nearly fast enough to prevent excessive global warming that would trigger profound economic disruption and human suffering.”
Former Vice President Al Gore and Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and a possible U.S. presidential candidate, were both set to speak at the investor summit, along with the U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres and senior French cabinet minister Ségolène Royal. 
Figueres, who is widely credited with assuring a successful outcome in Paris, said investment decisions over the next five years would be critical for accelerating the pace of climate action. "All of that is going to decide the quality of the energy and the global economy for the next 35 years, and hence the quality of life for everyone else for hundreds of years," she said in her opening remarks.
"The proverbial 'follow the money' is really true here," Figueres added. "We know that you cannot manage what you cannot measure, but you also cannot build what you do not finance."