United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed investors from four continents to a conference at UN Headquarters in New York on climate risks and recalled that the Kyoto Protocol on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases came into force in February.
"That means the world is now using market mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions. That offers exciting opportunities for the investment community," he said in a video message to the meeting convened by the UN Foundation and the Investor Network on Climate Risk to discuss how to address the financial risks and realize the opportunities from global climate change.
The Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change came into force on 16 February, 90 days after the Russian Federation ratified it. It includes creating an international carbon trading market for "emissions trading," enabling industrialized countries to buy and sell emissions credits.
Kyoto is only a first step, however, Mr. Annan told the Second Investors Summit on Climate Risk. "We need a framework for the years beyond 2012 that embraces all countries and makes full use of new technologies."
The choices and pronouncements of investor communities could make decision-makers in government and industry take climate change seriously and investments can point the way toward smart policies and breakthrough technologies for energy and transport, he said.
"You are accustomed to thinking big and thinking long term" he said. "Those are exactly the skills we need to address one of the greatest challenges of this century."