Climate Action

COP21 Day 3: fossil fuel divestment movement hits $3.4trn

The third day of the COP21 UN climate summit on Wednesday saw the global fossil fuel divestment movement pass $3.4 trillion

  • 03 December 2015
  • William Brittlebank

The third day of the COP21 UN climate summit on Wednesday saw the global fossil fuel divestment movement pass $3.4 trillion.

More than 500 organisations worldwide, representing over $3.4trn in assets, have now made divestment pledges after a set of new commitments were registered in Paris.

Day three of the historic UN Climate Change Conference saw 19 French cities and the French Parliament commit to divestment plans joining a global list of organisations that includes Allianz, Oxford University and the Sierra Club.

In September 2014, only 181 institutions covering $50bn in assets had made a divestment commitment.


World Bank commits $500M to water security in India

About 40 per cent of the global population is expected to live in water-scarce countries within the next 35 years. That’s up from 28 per cent today, which is why the World Bank is boosting help for the most vulnerable countries.

The third day of COP21 also saw the World Bank announce that it will invest $500 million to support a $1 billion groundwater management programme in India to improve the country’s water security and resiliency to climate change.

The World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, Laura Tuck, said: “Poor water management can exacerbate the effects of climate change on economic growth, but if water is managed well it can go a long way to neutralizing the negative impacts.”

The bank also revealed its plans to invest in other water management projects in the Niger Basin, Morocco and Mombasa.


China cleaning up

On Wednesday, China also announced plans to upgrade its coal-fired power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent before 2020.

The move will save approximately 100 million tonnes of coal and will reduce GHG emissions by 180 million tonnes annually, according the official Xinhua news agency.

The plan will see China shut down plants that do not meet the energy-saving standard by 2020, according to the report.


Cities commit to “resilience” projects

The 100 Resilient Cities project, created and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, also announced on Wednesday that 21 cities have committed to spending 10 per cent of their annual budgets on climate resiliency projects.

Paris is a signatory to the 10% Resilience Pledge, joining seven U.S. cities, including Pittsburgh and New Orleans as well as Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and Athens.

Ani Dasgupta, global director for sustainable cities at the World Resources Institute, said: “Cities are the front lines of climate change… With nearly all of the population growth in the next two decades taking place in cities, it is critical that resilience be embedded in long-term city planning.”