Many people, especially those who are dealing with potentially toxic assets, have acknowledged that they cannot ignore the idea of climate change forever, especially when it comes to investing.
Numerous companies have found themselves out in the cold in the last couple of years over a refusal to diversify their products, and now some major global companies are fully shifting toward putting out products fit for a world that needs to use less carbon.
To make this happen, there also needs to be a shift in the amount of money that investors put into climate finance, and recent research suggests that this is occurring following the Paris climate change accord at the end of 2015.
However, a wave of more populist and protectionist governments have come into power across a similar time frame, which cancels out some efforts to create a broad agreement on climate development.
The US pulling out of the Paris agreement under President Donald Trump, and looking to become more self-sufficient in its energy supply, has threatened to throw a wrench in the works.
According to a new UN report, which came out this week just as the next climate change convention begins in Katowice, Poland, climate finance has jumped by 17% in recent years.
Part of the issue is that some still-developing nations have received more leeway to try and craft an economy that is less reliant on fossil fuels. Although it would be unfair to expect these countries to achieve the same level of progress compared to developed nations that have a surer footing to decarbonize, it is also clear that these emerging markets will need finance to help make the transition.
This has been a key sticking point, especially in terms of trusting that such finance will be available when necessary and that these nations can start long-term planning with the assumption that they can access this money when they need it.
The latest UN figures suggest that the value of climate finance worldwide was at $584bn in 2014 and increased steadily to $681bn at the end of 2016.
Examining the figures further reveals that renewable energy supported by private finance and energy efficiency measures were the major drivers of this funding at $295bn and $246bn respectively.
There was also a 30% increase to $55.7bn in the amount of money coming from public funding sources such as governments, which in turn has elicited an additional $20bn of private investment.
The money set to go to developing countries every year starting in 2020 amounts to $100bn, and that which goes into the UN Green Climate Fund and similar multilateral climate funds is important to ensure that these nations can make changes.
Joe Thwaites, who contributes to climate finance work for the World Resources Institute, said: ‘if this rate of increase continues, then developed countries are on track.’
However, the methodology of assessing climate finance is known to be difficult, not least because many countries use their own reporting strategies. Bringing all the data together allows for a fair amount of error. Back in 2015, Brazil, China, India and South Africa rejected the numbers in a climate finance report for this reason, saying that they did not give input for the assessment.