US president-elect Donald Trump is powerless to stop the Paris climate deal from taking effect.
That is the view of David Blood, the co-founder of sustainable private equity investors Generation Investment Management, who believes the Paris pact represents a “tipping point” in the battle against climate change.
Speaking on Wednesday at the Global Impact Investing Network Investor Forum 2016, co-hosted by Private Equity International, Blood said that climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the world.
“The urgency of transition to a low carbon economy is really, really serious,” he told delegates. “We've already warmed the planet by 1.2 degrees. If we have any hope of keeping the rise under two degrees, let alone 1.5 degrees, everything we do today will need to change in the next five years.”
But Blood believes the climate pact, popularly known as COP 21, is a game changer. “COP 21, the Paris accord, is a big deal. There's no question we will look back in history and decide that this is a tipping point.
“It's clear that the world is transitioning to a low-carbon economy. The question is how fast. Donald Trump cannot stop that. The reason he cannot stop it is that the world is moving on and has recognised the urgency and economic opportunity of a low carbon economy.”
Blood was being interviewed at the GIIN Investor Forum as one of the fathers of the impact investment movement. Blood set up Generation Investment Management with Al Gore in 2004 to focus on sustainable investments.
He said impact investment has taken huge strides as firms begin to embrace the need for a more responsible approach.
“We've made a lot of progress, particularly over the last four or five years, principally because the business case for responsible investment is extraordinarily compelling and a lot of business leaders have recognised that.
“But we still need to convince a heck lot more investors that we need to take the issue seriously. Establishing the urgency, establishing the business case and establishing the fiduciary case of sustainability is critical.”
But the penny is slowly starting to drop for the big institutional investors, especially the pension funds, he added.
The two-day forum which opened on Wednesday is Europe's largest-ever gathering for impact investors with more than 800 delegates.