FINANCE Ethical finance

Usa farewell to Paris does not scare

Trump has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement. Appeals from foreign leaders, CEO's, including Exxon's, Apple, Alphabet and Tesla, and even his own children failed to convince him.

America is the second largest emitter of CO2 globally and there have been fears that should the US withdraw, other countries would follow.

President Trump may claim to be focused on saving coal miners, but the fact remains that withdrawal from the Paris Accord cannot interrupt the falling solar, wind and lithium-ion cost curves. In the US this week, action on climate change has continued at both the State level and by shareholders. California, along with New York and Washington, have united to continue to back the Accord. Exxon shareholders voted 62% in favour of more open and detailed analyses of the business risks posed by climate change, a monumental shift from 38% support last year.

Aside from the altruistic ‘save the world’ scenario the mounting economic benefits will continue to drive progress. Economics push harder than government regulations. Countries, companies and investors will continue to move global efforts on climate change forward. Trump may be putting “Pittsburgh over Paris” - a statement the Mayor of Pittsburgh has rejected, also repeating their commitment to the Paris Accord - but all that has been achieved is the delivery of a campaign pledge and the door left open for China to become the global leader on climate change.

In terms of the investment implications, we believe that it is too late to slow the adoption of environmentally-friendly technologies; the genie is already out of the bottle in this respect. From solar power, to wind power to electric vehicles, momentum has been building for some time. Barriers to adoption have been falling and returns on investment improving to the point where subsidies are largely no longer necessary. The bottom line is that the impact on companies and sectors that operate in these sectors will be extremely marginal and we do not expect any negative repercussions for any of our underlying investments as a result of this US policy change.


Georgina Laird - Sustainable Investment Analyst - Kames Capital

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