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Investors Eye Climate Role at UN

Feb 14, 2008 - The Associated Press

Hundreds of investors controlling $20 trillion in capital were set to gather Thursday for talks on financial risks and opportunities from limiting carbon emissions that scientists blame for global warming.

The gathering of 480 investors and other Wall Street types was organized by groups supporting U.N. efforts such as the U.N. Foundation, Ceres and the U.N. Fund for International Partnerships.

Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres' investor coalition, called it the largest meeting of financial leaders ever to focus on climate change and said it would illustrate how the marketplace is starting to transform.

"Investors will be looking at clean energy opportunities, including energy efficiency, as Wall Street wakes up to the scale of the climate challenge and what actions it will require," she said.

Timothy Wirth, president of the U.N. Foundation, said the next 50 years would bring a unique chance to adopt energy sources that emit less carbon dioxide and other global warming gases. He said that shift would prove to be "as important as the computer revolution in generating new wealth and jobs."

Such a shift has long been championed by Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, whose group has worked with General Motors Corp., DuPont Co., and other major companies in calling for U.S. limits on greenhouse gases to combat global warming.

The coalition is pressing Congress for so-called cap-and-trade legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions. There have been a number of climate bills introduced that call for mandatory limits on greenhouse gases which scientists fear will cause a warming of the Earth if atmospheric concentrations are not stabilized by mid-century.

"There'll be a whole cascade of private capital flowing to remaking the energy infrastructure of our world, because it's a multitrillion-dollar business," said Krupp, co-author of a new book, "Earth: The Sequel," due out in March that argues a technological fix for global warming will be a boon for producing new industries, jobs and private fortunes.

"Increasingly, you're seeing this point of view not only in America, but with politicians in other countries as well," he said.

--- On the Net U.N. Foundation: http://www.unfoundation.org

U.S. Climate Action Partnership: http://www.us-cap.org/