Investors With Over $34 Trillion Demand Climate Crisis Action
Money talks. And today it had something to say about the impending global climate crisis.
Investors managing nearly half the world's capital, more than $34 trillion in assets, demanded governments around the world take action to stop the impending global climate crisis, as Reuters reported in an exclusive.
In an open letter to the leaders of the G20 countries, groups representing 477 investors stressed urgent action to reach the Paris climate agreement targets of limiting global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Yet, current policies put the world on track for at least a 3 degrees Celsius rise by the end of the century.
To limit global temperature rises, the group of investors demanded that nations accelerate their carbon reduction targets, gradually eliminate coal as an energy source, stop subsidizing fossil fuels, and set a global price on carbon by the end of 2020, according to Reuters.
The statement from the group of investors also asked firms to improve their climate-related financial reporting, which will help them assess which companies are ready for a low-carbon transition and which companies are prepared for the climate crisis.
They also want to see governments push companies to improve their climate-related financial disclosures, to help investors better assess which firms are well prepared for a low-carbon transition and the impacts of climate change.
"It is vital for our long-term planning and asset allocation decisions that governments work closely with investors to incorporate Paris-aligned climate scenarios into their policy frameworks and energy transition pathways," the statement said, as Reuters reported.
The letter comes just before the G20 summit in Japan on Friday and Saturday and as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urges countries to commit to more ambitious climate goals.
"There is an ambition gap... This ambition gap is of great concern to investors and needs to be addressed, with urgency," the investors warned in a statement alongside the letter, as Reuters reported.
That lack of ambition is evident in the host country Japan, which has been criticized for its plans to continue using coal power. In a draft statement ahead of this weekend's summit, Japan has weakened the G20's commitment to the Paris climate agreement in order to keep the US on board, according to Climate Home News.
Japan is far from the only country that argues for the continued use of fossil fuels to sustain economic growth. A report by researchers which tracks countries' progress toward limiting global warming showed that only five out of 32 nations studied have targets in line with a 2 degrees Celsius limit, according to Reuters.
Furthermore, the G20 countries have continued to back coal power, boosting their backing for coal-fired power plants, particularly in poorer nations, from $17 billion to $47 billion a year from 2014 to 2017, according to a report by the Overseas Development think tank, as Reuters reported.
The latest statement by investors comes as large institutional investors have started to move away from fossil fuels, both driven by ethics and by economic — as the price of renewables falls, fossil fuels will be less profitable.
"The big story in energy economics over the next decade will be the storming of the bastions of fossil fuels by renewable energy sources that are cheaper to build and run, orders of magnitude cleaner and also much easier and quicker to deploy," said Mark Lewis, the head of sustainability research at BNP Paribas, as the Guardian reported.
This latest statement from some of the world's largest investors comes after Norway's Wealth Fund, the world's largest sovereign wealth fund divested itself earlier this month of all its investments in fossil fuels, including oil exploration and coal-related stocks, according to the Guardian.
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With more than 1.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and more than 100,000 deaths from the virus, physicians face unprecedented challenges in their efforts to keep Americans safe.
They also encounter what some call an "infodemic," an outbreak of misinformation that's making it more difficult to treat patients.
When Leaders and Doctors Spread Misinformation<p>When people in charge of towns, cities, states, and countries spread misinformation, the potential for belief in misinformation to result in policies can have harmful effects.</p><p><a href="https://www.northwell.edu/find-care/find-a-doctor?q=Bruce+E.+Hirsch%2C+MD&insurance=&location=&query_type=provider&physician_partners=false&default_view=list&gender=&language=&sort=relevancy" target="_blank">Dr. Bruce E. Hirsch</a>, attending physician and assistant professor in the infectious disease division of Northwell Health in Manhasset, New York, says an example of this is when President Trump informed the public he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure.</p><p>"To approach this enormous challenge, we need some intellectual honesty and clarity, and to disregard expertise and to make decisions and model decisions based on hunches is inviting us to handle challenges on the basis of rumor and uninformed opinion. The magnitude of that error is epic," Hirsch told Healthline.</p><p>Stukus agrees, noting that the harm of this proclamation is documented.</p><p>"Early on when the president touted the benefits of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, people started to hoard this medicine, and state boards had to shut it down because they were getting so many prescriptions for this unproven therapy that it was not available for those who truly needed it, such as those who have lupus and autoimmune conditions," Stukus said.</p><p>He adds that calls to poison control centers increased after the president suggested using disinfectant to prevent contracting the new coronavirus.</p>
Listen to Science, Even When it Changes<p>When recommendations change or evidence flip-flops, skepticism may arise. However, Stukus says change is the beauty of science.</p><p>"That shows us that we can evolve, and if the evidence shows that our prior thoughts were incorrect, we need to be able to change our recommendations and advice based upon the best quality of evidence at the time," he said.</p><p>Pierre agrees.</p><p>"Science is an iterative process, whereby we arrive at facts and truth through repeated and controlled observations. That means that it's inherently self-correcting as we revise conclusions based on ongoing research. Scientific facts aren't immutable dogma chiseled on a tablet. They change based on the best available evidence we have at a given point in time," he said.</p><p>Because research of COVID-19 has only been underway for 6 months, information is evolving rapidly, and new information may contradict old.</p><p>"There's still much we don't know about exactly how [COVID-19] spreads, what effects it has on the body, or how to best treat it. That means that the best available evidence is preliminary, but that doesn't mean that we should ignore it or turn to other sources of information or opinion as if they're just as valid," Pierre said.</p><p>He explains that conspiracy theories based on mistrust lead to vulnerability to misinformation.</p><p>If people mistrust science because it sometimes "changes its mind," Pierre said, "that shouldn't be used to embrace other opinions based on no evidence at all, which are typically selected based on confirmation bias: what we want to believe rather than what the objective evidence supports."</p>
Where to Find the Best Information<p>Stukus says to start with the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html" target="_blank">CDC</a> and <a href="https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus" target="_blank">NIH</a>. Then check with your local health officials, because COVID-19 guidelines may vary depending on where you live.</p><p>If you can't find information you need or have questions specifically related to you, call your primary care doctor.</p><p>"Your personal doctor should always be a resource for individual specific questions because they know best how to apply all the nuances retaining to your health, and how to incorporate all the other general [COVID-19] recommendations," Stukus said.</p><p><a href="https://www.eehealth.org/find-a-doctor/b/boyd-laura-b/" target="_blank">Dr. Laura Boyd</a>, primary care physician at Edward-Elmhurst Health Center in Elmhurst, Illinois, says her clinic receives a lot of calls about COVID-19.</p><p>"Most doctors' offices are receiving calls and answering questions, and doing phone or video visits to help clarify and/or order testing over the phone based on patients' symptoms. It is always best to call your doctor's office first instead of worrying about symptoms and waiting too long to seek treatment," she told Healthline.</p><p>If your primary care doctor has limited testing, she suggests looking on your state's public health website for available testing sites.</p><p>With a lot of unknowns related to this virus and disease, Boyd says many patients are feeling overwhelmed and anxious for a treatment.</p><p>"Unfortunately, there is no specific medication recommended for COVID for outpatient. There are a lot of ongoing studies with various drugs going on within the hospital setting. Patients should always contact their doctors about their specific symptoms as they can treat the symptoms that go along with COVID, but there is no cure," Boyd said.</p><p>While we wait for treatment and a vaccine, Hirsch, who treats patients hospitalized for COVID-19 complications on a daily basis, says everyone can do their part by washing hands, wearing a mask, and staying 6 feet apart.</p><p>"As an infectious disease doctor working in the hospital, I see the damage of the pandemic and the worst cases of what's happening. We are trying to get the best possible outcome and confronting this overwhelming biologic reality of this terrible epidemic the best we can," Hirsch said.</p><p>Everyone at home can help in the fight too, he adds.</p><p>"Follow information that is science- and evidence-based, and avoid that which is not," he said.</p>
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