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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S.-hosted climate summit has now begun, ahead of the bigger U.N. climate change conference in Glasgow in November.

The state of play: One major theme has already emerged: Investing in a zero-carbon future has moved from being a contrarian strategy with virtue-signaling upside, to being the central investing thesis for most giant financial institutions.

Driving the news: A new financial coalition calling itself Gfanz is coordinating the deployment of trillions of dollars in quasi-permanent capital — much more than is currently being mooted by President Biden's environmentally disappointing infrastructure plan.

The big picture: Environmentally responsible investing over the past decade or so has in large part been a trade that's long tech and short fossil fuels. That trade has been enormously profitable — and has made it hard for investors to cling to their prior beliefs that constraining one's investment universe means giving up total returns.

  • Instead, the opposite argument has become mainstream among institutional investors — that the only way to avoid catastrophically negative investment returns as a result of climate change is to invest in net-zero resilient projects.
  • That's why the second session this morning is devoted to climate finance and private investment. Senior private-sector financiers like Jane Fraser of Citigroup and Brian Moynihan of Bank of America are appearing alongside heads of state, the heads of the World Bank and the IMF, and a high-profile U.S. delegation led by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

The bottom line: What we're seeing is a pro-climate cartel of the richest and most powerful individuals in the world, led by the president of the United States, saying very clearly that they're going to try their hardest to rig the scales in favor of green investment.

  • The White House is determined to corral "market forces" to meet its emissions targets. That's code for "invest in sustainability, and we'll ensure you make lots of money."

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 21, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The finance sector links arms on climate

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A big, UN-backed umbrella group of banks, asset managers, investors and insurers launched Wednesday to boost private clean tech finance and press polluting industries that use their services to cut emissions.

Why it matters: The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) is the broadest financial industry effort yet on climate change.

White House unveils plans for high-profile climate summit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration offered new details this morning about the big, virtual climate summit Thursday and Friday and signaled they expect new emissions reduction and climate finance commitments from multiple countries.

Driving the news: The administration said 40 heads of state would attend, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Japan vows deeper emissions cuts ahead of White House summit

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan on Thursday said it will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 46% below 2013 levels by 2030, per the AP and other outlets.

Why it matters: The country is the world's fifth-largest largest carbon dioxide emitter and a major consumer of coal, oil and natural gas.

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