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Permanent Fund Corporation buys into fight against climate change with $200M investment

By Daniella Rivera 10:00 PM October 19, 2015

Updated on Wednesday, Oct. 21

ANCHORAGE – The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation is considering buying into President Barack Obama’s effort to fight global warming with a $200 million investment.

The Permanent Fund Corporation is one of five long-term investors who, together, would put up at least $1.2 billion. The money will go toward funding an investment group that would act as a financial “middle man.” It will screen companies and projects to identify commercial investments that could make an impact on climate change.

The Permanent Fund Corporation was closed Monday, in recognition of Alaska Day, so we weren’t able to get more information from them at the time, but the State Constitution lays out certain guidelines for investments that the board must follow. One is that the fund can only be used for investments producing income.

On Tuesday, the Permanent Fund Corporation clarified that no funds have been committed yet — they’ve only agreed to explore investment opportunities with other investors in the group. The agreement was signed on June 8 and will expire on Dec. 8. So far, no investments have been brought forward for consideration.

With the United Nations conference to tackle climate change in Paris just six months away, President Obama sat down with 10 chief executives at the White House Monday to continue the discussion on efforts to reduce energy and water consumption and pollution.

“If we are at the forefront of this, if we are the innovators, if we are the early adapters, if we are the example setters, then we’re the ones who are going to be creating and selling the products and services that help the entire world adapt to a clean energy future,” he said. “If we are lagging behind, it’s not going to happen.”

Earlier on Monday, the White House announced 81 companies, with operations in all 50 states, that have signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. That means those companies have adopted goals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and move to 100-percent renewable energy.

It’s another big step toward expanding on the work the President began here in Alaska during the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience, or GLACIER. The hope is that companies like Facebook, Best Buy and Starbucks — who’ve signed on — will set an example for their business peers.

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