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September 25, 2014

"Lake Superior North Shore". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

An initiative called the Montreal Carbon Pledge was unveiled this morning at the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Conference. Signatories agreed to disclose the carbon footprint for their investment portfolios on an annual basis. Early endorsers include the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and French public pension fund l’Etablissement du Régime Additionnel de la Fonction Publique. “The first step to managing the long-term investment risks associated with climate change and carbon regulation is to measure them, and this initiative sets a clear path forward,” said Fiona Reynolds, Managing Director of the Principles for Responsible Investment in a statement. The group is dedicated to attracting $3 trillion (U.S.) of portfolio commitment in time for the UN Climate Change Conference at the end of 2015.

Fresh off of Alibaba’s record-breaking IPO-dominating headlines this week, co-founder Jack Ma was interviewed by Chelsea Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting yesterday. Ma spoke at length about his desire to put his swollen bank account to charitable use, returning repeatedly to ongoing environmental problems in China. “If we don’t give up, in 15 years China will have a change,” he said. “We will have blue air, blue skies, clean water.” Former President Bill Clinton, for his part, hailed it as a potential catalyst for increased civic engagement in China.

The freshly signed Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) remains a hot-button issue. Andrew Nikiforuk is worried that clauses in the 31-year treaty would empower it to supplant decisions made by Canadian provincial, judicial and First Nations on issues of resource development. The treaty goes into effect on October 1.

Corporate Knights contributor Stephen Lacey wrote about new California-based startup Local Motion, which is working to make fleets more efficient. The sharing platform helps companies make the most of corporate vehicle fleets, working with large companies such as Google and Verizon. On Greentech Media’s The Energy Gang podcast, Lacey went into detail on New York State’s ambitious plans to incorporate more entrepreneurship and choice into the state grid. It’s well worth a listen.

The United States government has launched its largest conservation program to date to restore the Great Lakes and clean up 10 contaminated rivers and harbors. The five lakes represent the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world, but the growing cities along their shores have chased away wildlife. Farming is also responsible for filling rivers with fertilizers result in massive algae blooms that cover parts of the Great Lakes, while mussels and other invasive species are killing native fish and other species. The Environmental Protection Agency aims to treat eight times more urban runoff and restore twice as much wetland and wildlife habitats. It will also double the area that it is attempts to control for invasive species and reduce fertilizer runoff by more than 1,400 tons by 2019.

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