Signals that Financial Policymakers in the U.S. are Starting to Focus on Climate Risk

To say that climate change has the potential to threaten financial stability is not news. 2020 will mark five years since Mark Carney’s famous speech about the Tragedy of the Horizons, which highlighted the short-termism inherent in most financial decision making – both by investors and policymakers – as perhaps the single biggest barrier preventing the full integration of climate considerations into the financial system, and thus an often overlooked potential risk. Much “issue spotting” on the topic of the financial risks from a warming planet has been done since then, including the groundbreaking work of the Task Force on [...]

2020-02-20T13:15:41-05:00December 3rd, 2019|Climate Risk, Greening Finance|

Adjust, Align, Accelerate: What the Financial Sector Must Do to Deliver Resilience to Climate Change

Across the globe, physical climate impacts have become more pronounced and damaging in recent years, with grave implications for many vulnerable people and societies. The four-year period between 2015 and 2018 has been confirmed as the hottest on record and was replete with extreme weather triggered or exacerbated by climate change that negatively affected, and sometimes devastated, many countries and millions of people and their livelihoods, rippling out to entire ecosystems and economies. Both acute and chronic impacts from a changing climate are already manifesting in financial and economic losses around the globe, not only in emerging economies of the [...]

Bringing Climate Science to Local Decisionmakers Can Unlock Finance for Building Resilience

While it is a certainty that climate change is already affecting society, the exact timeframes and potential impacts are far from straightforward to determine. Further, the most efficient and effective actions to reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts require complex analysis and planning, often extending beyond the capacity of government entities. A new initiative, the Science for Climate Action Network (SCAN), was launched last month to tackle these challenges head-on. And this actionable climate change data and analysis will provide critical inputs to project developers and investors as they assess the capital preservation and appreciation aspects of potential projects [...]

2020-02-20T13:16:03-05:00May 23rd, 2019|Climate Risk|

Climate Risk Disclosure is Critical – But not the Whole Ballgame

At the beginning of April, Chair of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) Hans Hoogervorst gave a speech expressing his views that sustainability reporting is insufficient to incite change, and that more concrete steps need to be taken to address climate change. The IASB is the premier private-sector entity establishing and governing the widely-recognized International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). When the IASB speaks, accountants, sustainability professionals, and ESG-attuned investors across the private sector listen – and the IASB is one of the foremost global authorities on accounting standards, which are directly upstream of corporate disclosure, lending weight to its leadership’s [...]

2019-05-13T16:08:23-04:00May 13th, 2019|Climate Risk, Greening Finance|

Science has given the Financial Sector a Clear Horizon to Act on Climate Change

From a financial perspective, the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, issued on Monday by the UN, should raise alarm bells.  The IPCC report – which reflects the consensus of ninety-one scientists from 40 countries and drawn from more than 6,000 studies – has very clearly laid out our collective time horizon:  we may have as little as 12 years before we are fully locked in to the impacts of at least 1.5°C warming, which could be reached as early as 2040 and appears increasingly certain to bring devastating consequences.  Under these circumstances, the range of damages to be [...]

2018-12-12T16:05:01-05:00October 13th, 2018|Climate Risk, Greening Finance|

To Address Rising Sea Levels and Depressed Home Values on the East Coast, Resilient Infrastructure Investment Is Needed

October 9, 2018 This weekend, Bloomberg published a stunning article on the imperiled state of Miami-Dade’s fresh water supply due to rising seas. This reportage threw into stark relief a welter of climate change-related threats to coastal communities and private real estate holdings, particularly on the Atlantic seaboard of the United States. Only clear-eyed management of physical climate risks can help mitigate the financial jeopardy facing homeowners, investors, and local governments. The case of Southeast Florida’s fresh water is particularly alarming because of the problem’s apparent intractability. Miami-Dade sits on the Biscayne Aquifer, which serves as a primary water source. [...]

2018-10-12T01:17:23-04:00October 9th, 2018|Cities, Climate Risk|

How do you make the financial business case for the private sector to invest in resilience?

October 3, 2018 Last week’s Climate Week NYC played host to 35 official events on private investment for climate change and countless satellite gatherings, from the Sustainable Investment Forum to Climate Infrastructure. The topic has gained currency as municipal governments grapple with deferred maintenance of infrastructure, public pension liabilities, and other expenditures, ten years after the Great Recession local budgets remain tight. Add to this mix a growing and urgent need for climate-proofing local infrastructure, and it’s not hard to see why government officials and policymakers are searching for solutions that share the costs of climate-resilient infrastructure investment with the [...]

2018-10-03T15:35:03-04:00October 3rd, 2018|Climate Risk|

As Climate Risk Looms for the Financial Industry, Governments at all Levels Spring into Action

September 12, 2018 True market transformation often requires parallel and, in a perfect world, coordinated efforts by both policy makers and industry.  The financial sector plays a key role in catalyzing these efforts.  More often than not, this effort requires true leadership, courage, and vision that cannot be taken for granted. This week’s Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) has kicked off with thousands of professionals landing in San Francisco to try to push forward ambitious action on climate change.  To kick it off, Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, signed an ambitious executive order requiring economy-wide carbon neutrality for the [...]

2018-10-03T15:36:22-04:00September 12th, 2018|Climate Risk|

Cities Should Bank on Climate Resilience

By Andrew Eil & Stacy Swann This week, the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities (100 RC) program is convening nearly 500 urban resilience leaders from cities around the world, including 80 Chief Resilience Officers, in New York to discuss, share, and develop new resilience solutions for cities. In our last blog post, we discussed the concept of bankability: “Bankability” implies that lenders and investors believe the risk exposure of a project does not outweigh its return potential. Bankability as a concept is not only relevant to private developers in their quest to finance their projects, but also to cities trying [...]

2017-07-28T12:09:32-04:00July 28th, 2017|Cities, Climate Risk|

Reflections by Alan Miller: Election Implications for Climate Change Policy

Watching the election results from a hotel in Marrakech, the site of the latest climate negotiations, was a sobering experience.  To realize that the future of the planet may now be so influenced by a person who has called climate change a “hoax” promoted by China to undermine our economy.  Like many of my friends, my impulse was to feel “it’s the end of the world as we know it.”  However, after a few days’ reflection, and based on more than 30 years involvement in the issue, I began to feel that, while this is a bad situation, it is [...]

2016-11-28T12:47:34-05:00November 28th, 2016|Climate Risk|
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