July 9, 2020 – BERKELEY, CA – New Climate Resilience Assessment leverages Four Twenty Seven’s physical climate risk data to enable proactive risk management by commercial real estate stakeholders
Commercial real estate assets are increasingly affected by climate change, whether it be costly hurricane damage, increasing energy costs due to higher temperatures, or the impacts of sea level rise on asset value. As it becomes evident that every asset has its own risks and that these risks will continue to manifest in financial loss, real estate investors and property managers need to prepare. Granular, site-specific data on risk exposure is the critical first step for understanding these impacts, and it is essential to use these assessments to inform investment in preparedness. Nova’s new Climate Resilience Assessment fulfills this demand for data-driven insights into how to build resiliency, based on the risks and characteristics of the specific asset of interest.
“The single most frequent question we get from clients is ‘I know my risk now, but what do I do next?’ We are delighted to partner with Nova Group to answer this question, filling the urgent demand for site-specific guidance on how to build resilience,” said Emilie Mazzacurati, Four Twenty Seven’s Founder & CEO.
“Arguably there is no greater risk confronting the global commercial real estate industry than climate change. We are thrilled to partner with the industry leaders of Four Twenty Seven to amplify their forward-looking, predictable, and location-specific data to create a more resilient world,” stated Ben Bohline, Nova Group’s President & CFO.
June 2, 2020 – BERKELEY, CA – Four Twenty Seven’s data on climate-related risks is now available on Measurabl’s real estate data platform.
Measurabl is the world’s most widely adopted ESG software for commercial real estate, and Four Twenty Seven’s physical risk data is now available in a new Physical Climate Risk Exposure tool on Measurabl’s investment grade ESG (environmental, social, governance) data hub. Through this integration Measurabl customers can now identify their physical climate risks to inform opportunities to build resilience across their real estate portfolios.
As the effects of climate change worsen, real estate companies are feeling tangible impacts. Properties exposed to rising sea levels rise in the United States sell at about 7% less compared with similar, unexposed properties. Severe climate events such as hurricanes are occurring more frequently and costing billions of dollars in damage to assets. Additionally, companies face growing regulatory and investor pressures to disclose climate-related financial risks in line with frameworks like the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD).
Yet today, real estate owners and lenders lack transparency into the forward-looking impacts of climate-related threats on their assets and find it difficult to collect and analyze physical climate risk data in a meaningful, comprehensive way.
For each building in a portfolio, Measurabl’s Physical Climate Risk Exposure tool provides Four Twenty Seven’s data for the five key climate hazards of floods, heat stress, hurricanes & typhoons, sea level rise and water stress, as well as earthquakes. The tool identifies the level of risk an asset faces for each hazard and allows users to sort, filter and export Four Twenty Seven’s physical risk data by property type, risk category, and risk level. Users can access this data from Measurabl’s centralized software alongside relevant ESG performance metrics and analytics. This new release improves transparency and enables lenders and investors to better assess and manage their risk.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the leading ESG data management platform to provide unprecedented levels of transparency to real estate owners and managers worldwide,” said Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Four Twenty Seven. “As climate change increasingly causes financial damage to real assets, this partnership helps fill the urgent demand for data to help the real estate industry prepare for the impacts of climate change.”
Physical climate risk data analyzed in tandem with ESG performance provides real estate and capital markets new opportunities to assess their risks and build more resilient portfolios in a central hub. Through advanced understanding of these risks, the built environment and capital markets will be empowered to make data-driven decisions on risk mitigation and strategic investments.
“The evolution of Measurabl’s software to include climate risk data was a natural development as we continue to build the best-in-class ESG –and now “R” – platform for commercial real estate,” said Matt Ellis, Founder and CEO of Measurabl. “The union of physical climate risks with ESG creates unparalleled transparency for climate-related financial decisions and disclosures.”
Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate risk and resilience. This month we discuss the potential for a green recovery, highlight ways in which asset owners can leverage Four Twenty Seven's Physical Climate Risk Application and share recent and upcoming webinars.
In Focus: Will There be a Green Recovery?
Governments Include Climate Measures in Recovery Efforts
During last week's webinar Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, joined Rahul Gosh, SVP, Credit Research & Strategy at Moody's, to discuss what organizations can learn from the pandemic to help prevent and prepare for climate change. Emilie discussed the impact on emissions, government responses and how these events can help companies understand the implications of carbon transition risk. Register for the webinar to watch the replay.
How Can Asset Owners Manage
Use Case - Climate Data for Risk Management in Real Asset Portfolios
As regulatory pressure to assess and report climate risks picks up, and physical climate hazards increasingly result in financial damage, asset owners face the daunting challenge of leveraging climate data for financial decision-making. Real estate, infrastructure, agriculture, timber and other real assets have long been an integral component of an asset owner’s portfolio due to their returns and the diversification they offer to the overall fund. However, many real assets are highly vulnerable to physical climate risks. These risks manifest in direct and indirect ways, including increased costs, reduced revenues and decreased asset value.
Evaluating an asset’s exposure to physical climate hazards is challenging, yet also an essential first step in managing climate risks. Four Twenty Seven’s Physical Climate Risk Application allows investors to assess exposure to floods, sea level rise, hurricanes & typhoons, heat stress and water stress at the asset and portfolio levels. Asset owners leverage hazard exposure scores to identify regional and sectoral trends as well as specific hotspots. Flexible viewing options and digestible data provide insight for portfolio risk assessments and due diligence processes. This new case study explores how, armed with climate risk data at decision-relevant scales, asset owners can begin to manage their risk.
Update to the EU Non-financial Reporting Directive
The European Commission is soliciting feedback on its non-financial reporting directive as part of its efforts to improve oversight of non-financial reporting in alignment with its Green Deal and a global call for a new approach to regulating non-financial disclosure. Provide feedback by June 11.
European Commission Consultation on Climate Adaptation
As part of its Green Deal the European Commission has launched a climate adaptation strategy to encourage eco-friendly investments and build resilience. It is refining the initiative and soliciting feedback through a public consultation. Respond by June 30.
Four Twenty Seven Shortlisted in Waters Ranking 2020
Vote for Four Twenty Seven as Best Alternative Data Provider
Four Twenty Seven is honored to be short-listed in the Best Alternative Data Provider category in the 2020 Waters Rankings.
This readers' choice award recognizes the capital markets' leading technologies and providers. We'd be grateful for your vote! You can vote here before May 29.
Webinars on Integrating Climate Risk into Financial Decision Making
IIF Webinar Recording: Quantifying the Impacts of Climate Change
This Institute of International Finance webinar (IIF) features Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder & CEO of Four Twenty Seven, and Jing Zhang, Managing Director, Global Head of Quantitative Research at Moody’s, as they provide an overview of Moody’s climate risk solutions on the financial impacts of climate change. Watch now.
AllianceBernstein Webinar: Incorporating Climate Change into Investment Research
Please join us for a discussion about how the investment value chain is incorporating climate change into decision-making. Sara Rosner and David Wheeler, of AllianceBernstein, will discuss their collaboration with Columbia University on climate change and highlight the climate theme in their sustainable portfolios. Martina Macpherson, of Moody’s, will provide an overview of the current market environment and Moody's ESG and climate efforts, and Emilie Mazzacurati will present a deep dive into climate risk analytics. This webinar is next Wednesday, May 27 at 2pm BST / 9am EST / 6am PST. Register here.
Inside the Office at Four Twenty Seven
UK Sales Director - Ben Boukhobza
Four Twenty Seven welcomes Ben as UK Sales Director. Ben leads Four Twenty Seven’s business development and growth strategy in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Ben leverages ten years of experience across various roles within the Commercial Group at Moody’s Investors Service (MIS). Most recently Ben led the EMEA Sales Support team, having previously held roles ranging from sales and account management to operations and technology.
Join the team! Four Twenty Seven is Hiring
There are several opportunities to join Four Twenty Seven's dynamic team. See the open positions below and visit our Careers page for more information.
Project Manager with excellent leadership skills and proven experience coordinating activities across teams of different disciplines within research, content and technology
Regional Sales Director (North America) with extensive experience selling and supporting data products and services for large commercial, financial and government institutions
Join the team online at these upcoming events and check our Events page for updates, including registration links to webinars not yet available:
Introduction: Why Climate Risk Matters for Asset Owners
In the world where quarterly corporate reporting makes it feel like financial markets are ruled by short-termism, asset owners stand out in contrast, managing their portfolios with horizons in the decades and even longer. With trillions in assets under management and the long-term well-being of their beneficiaries and other stakeholders as their goal, asset owners’ risk management practices must be robust. This includes the consideration of factors beyond traditional financial metrics. While their long horizon allows asset owners to withstand short-term volatility, their portfolios may be exposed to higher levels of other risks, including those posed by a changing climate, which is not necessarily accounted for in asset prices.
With climate risk moving from the fringes of finance to center stage, the challenge is to translate climate models and climate data into actionable intelligence for financial decision-making. Climate models are complex, incorporating information from many disciplines of earth science, and their outputs are unwieldy. However, when transformed into indicators at appropriate scales and timeframes, climate data provides essential forward-looking information for financial decision-makers.
Assessing Exposure to Inform Risk Management
Evaluating an asset’s exposure to physical climate hazards is challenging, yet also an essential first step in managing climate risks. Four Twenty Seven’s Physical Climate Risk Application (Application) allows investors to assess exposure to floods, sea level rise, hurricanes & typhoons, heat stress and water stress at the asset and portfolio levels. Asset owners leverage hazard exposure scores to identify regional and sectoral trends as well as specific hotspots. Flexible viewing options and digestible data provide insight for portfolio risk assessments and due diligence processes. Armed with climate risk data at decision-relevant scales, asset owners can begin to manage their risk.
Climate Data for Portfolio Management
Real estate, infrastructure, agriculture, timber and other real assets have long been an integral component of an asset owner’s portfolio due to their returns and the diversification they offer to the overall fund. However, many real assets are highly vulnerable to physical climate risks. These risks manifest in direct and indirect ways, including increased costs, reduced revenues, and decreased asset value.
Asset owners use Four Twenty Seven’s Application to evaluate forward-looking physical climate risk exposure. For example, the portfolio-specific summary table in Figure 1 provides a snapshot of exposure and serves as the starting point for the analysis of physical climate risks. In this portfolio, hurricanes & typhoons, earthquakes, heat stress and water stress are the most prevalent hazards.
While asset owners frequently emphasize the hazards they view as most financially material—for instance floods, hurricanes, and sea level rise—heat stress and water stress can also have material financial impacts. For instance, a major heat wave across Europe in the summer of 2019 demonstrated how increasing temperatures can cause business disruptions and raise operating costs. Absent retrofits to address climate risks in European real estate, the total increase in energy bills for commercial buildings could potentially cost $300 billion (£457 billion) by 2050. Water stress, another potentially overlooked risk, can threaten the long-term operations of assets like thermal power plants that rely on large amounts of water for cooling. For example, Moody’s found that 11 major U.S. utilities representing over $31 billion in rate base have extreme risk to water stress, which has already caused some power utilities to retire capital-intensive generation facilities early.
In addition to providing an entry point for further analysis, metrics in the summary table are useful for risk reporting. As reporting requirements develop, outputs from the Physical Climate Risk Application will empower asset owners to effectively describe asset exposure, communicate how risks are being managed, and characterize their portfolios’ overall climate risk and resilience strategies.
Asset owners can also identify exposure hotspots, explore sectoral trends, and dive deeper into the exposure of individual assets. Figure 2 shows the same portfolio ranked by highest flood risk score. Floods can raise costs, cause business disruption, and decrease asset values.
Using the data in Figure 2, asset owners can consider shortening their holding periods for assets with the highest levels of exposure, ensure that they have appropriate insurance coverage, and evaluate if coverage or premium prices may rise in the future. As the climate changes, insurers’ risk tolerances may also reach their limits and they may seek to exit markets. It is thus essential for asset owners to monitor the evolving landscape. Beyond evaluating potential changes to insurance, asset owners can also use this data as an entry point for engagement with a building manager, to better understand the site’s flood history and investigate if the asset has flood defenses.
Institutional investors understand that, over the typical commercial real estate hold period of seven to ten years, the next buyer of their building is likely to be concerned by climate risk as well. The Application equips asset owners with the exposure data they need to make sure their portfolios are resilient to climate risks and continue to provide the returns they need and expect from the asset class.
Climate Data for Due Diligence
Beyond analyzing portfolios of existing holdings, the application’s real-time scoring allows asset owners to quickly incorporate physical climate analysis into their due diligence processes for new acquisitions. In addition to providing easily digestible, high-level screening results, granular climate data allows clients to continue to invest, for example, in valuable coastal markets with known exposure. Figure 3 shows exposure of nine facilities in Tokyo, where the combination of storm surge and sea level rise could cause $1 trillion (100 trillion yen) in damages in a 1-in-100 year storm. Because the sea level rise (and flood) data featured in the Application is at a scale of 90 x 90 meters, investors do not need to eliminate entire markets from their investment strategies. Rather than exiting a profitable market, asset owners can use the Four Twenty Seven Physical Climate Risk Application to selectively invest in assets with lower exposure.
Asset owners often use Four Twenty Seven data to set their own internal thresholds for further due diligence. Using the detailed site information, as shown in Figure 4, as well as the downloadable scorecard, analysts can quickly understand which hazards to investigate further.
Some investors require further due diligence for any assets that receive “High” or “Red Flag” scores. Deal teams may be tasked to investigate asset-specific features that would make it more resilient to specific climate hazards, such as freeboard above base flood elevation, onsite power generators, or water efficiency measures.
Real assets, whose time horizon of returns aligns well with the investment goals of asset owners, are exposed to physical hazards, which will continue to become more frequent and severe. Exploring asset-level climate hazard exposure is the first step to analyzing and ultimately managing physical climate risk. As regulation around climate risk rapidly evolves, mandates to monitor and report these risks will also expand. Equipped with a detailed understanding of their portfolio holdings’ exposure, asset owners are empowered to make better-informed investment and risk management decisions, ultimately enhancing the resilience of their portfolios to physical climate risk.
This Institute of International Finance webinar (IIF) features a discussion on quantifying the impacts of climate change into balance sheets and cash flows and provides an overview of Moody’s growing climate risk offering. This webinar is part of the IIF ESG Webinar series.
Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder & CEO of Four Twenty Seven, discusses Four Twenty Seven’s process for quantifying the exposure of economic and financial assets to physical climate hazards and highlights collaborations with Moody’s.
Jing Zhang, Managing Director, Global Head of Quantitative Research at Moody’s, presents on translating physical risk metrics into financial metrics.
Sonja Gibbs, Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Finance, Global Policy Initiatives at IIF moderates the conversation.
Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments on climate risk and resilience. This month we announce our new on-demand climate risk scoring application, discuss RCP 8.5 and highlight developments in climate risk disclosure.
In Focus: Four Twenty Seven Announces its On-demand Climate Risk Application
Score thousands of assets in minutes with Four Twenty Seven’s new on-demand physical climate risk application.
We're delighted to announce that our new on-demand climate risk scoring tool is now live! This application responds to the financial sector’s growing call for the integration of granular, forward-looking climate data into investment decisions and risk management practices.
Users enter addresses and facility types to receive information on their assets’ exposure to floods, sea level rise, hurricanes & typhoons, heat stress and water stress to mid-century. Detailed facility scorecards include data on the underlying risk drivers for each hazard and users can toggle between maps and tables to identify regional trends and multi-hazard exposure. This tool informs due diligence, risk management, enhanced portfolio construction, resilience investment and pre-loan evaluations to support the integration of climate risk into financial decision-making across use cases.
“We are excited to bring our on-demand physical climate risk application to the market. Our app provides access to sophisticated climate model outputs in easily understandable metrics with just a few clicks,” says Founder & CEO Emilie Mazzacurati. “Real-time access to forward-looking, location-specific data on climate risk enables investors, banks and corporations to manage their risk and invest in resilience.”
Moody's Announces Global Head of ESG and Climate Risk Businesses
Moody's Corporation announced yesterday that Andrea Blackman has been appointed Moody's Global Head of ESG and Climate Risk Businesses. Andrea comes from a leadership position in Moody's Analytics CreditView. In her new position Andrea will lead Moody's strategy and vision for long-term growth in line with market demands for ESG and climate risk services. Moody's ESG and climate risk affiliates, including Four Twenty Seven and Vigeo Eiris will be part of this new business unit. Learn more about Moody's broad ESG and Climate Risk offering here.
RCP 8.5 - Still a Valid Possibility
Extracting the Scientific Uncertainties from the Policy Uncertainties
An article published in Nature last month sparked confusion about the legitimacy of Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5, but there are compelling reasons RCP 8.5 remains an important part of scenario analysis.
The study's authors explain that the initial design of RCP 8.5 was to capture growing rates of coal production in China. They assert that since the rate of coal production has actually slowed, it's not appropriate to continue using this scenario as the "business-usual" scenario and rather it should be considered a highly unlikely extreme scenario. However, the article focuses on the policy drivers, rather than the scientific drivers, of warming. The authors do not explore the physical phenomenon, such as sudden release of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) due to thawing of permafrost. This is one of several tipping points that could lead to RCP 8.5 outcomes by 2100, independent of how coal production evolves.
While the initial design of RCP 8.5 was intended to capture growing rates of coal production, it doesn’t mean the scenario can’t be a stand-in for other sources of emissions that could quickly accelerate due to tipping points. Bob Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University, has previously pointed out on Twitter that "from a climate science perspective, RCP 8.5 is very useful, since we would like to know how models simulate a 5C world.”
New Survey on the Quality of Climate
Climate Risk Disclosures Lack Transparency
Companies tend to disclose more details on their exposure to transition risk than physical risk and disclosures still lack transparency on which models and assumptions companies use to assess risk, according to the recent European Financial Reporting Advisory Group report on How to Improve Climate-related Reporting. The report highlights that when firms approach disclosures solely from a compliance perspective, they miss an opportunity to genuinely identify their risk and improve their resilience. It also identifies best practices and current maturity of disclosures in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the EU Non-financial Reporting Directive's non-binding guidelines on climate risk.
The Climate Disclosure Standards Board also released an EU Environmental Reporting Handbook sharing examples of environmental and climate disclosures under the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive.
Regulatory Action & Oversight on Climate Risk Disclosure
Australia and UK Each Announce Plans for New Disclosure Regulation
Oren is a strategic data and content expert, adept at launching and overseeing products and solutions to serve the top investment firms globally.
Join the Four Twenty Seven team at these events:
Mar 9 - 11 – GARP Risk Convention, New York, NY: Global Director of Client Services, Yoon Kim, will present on climate risk for investors and Editor, Natalie Ambrosio, will host Four Twenty Seven's booth.
February 27, 2020 – BERKELEY, CA – Four Twenty Seven, an affiliate of Moody’s and the leading publisher of climate data for financial markets, today announces the release of a new on-demand climate risk scoring tool. This application responds to the financial sector’s growing call for the seamless integration of granular, forward-looking climate data into investment decisions and risk management practices.
Users are able to enter location and other data via an intuitive interface and immediately receive information on their assets’ exposure for floods, sea level rise, hurricanes & typhoons, heat stress and water stress to mid-century. The application allows users to browse and download detailed facility scorecards that include data on the underlying risk drivers for each hazard. The application also enables users to toggle between maps and tables to identify regional trends and multi-hazard exposure. Users can perform analyses for large volumes of locations via an API and integrate the outputs into downstream risk management and portfolio analysis applications.
As the material financial impacts of climate change become increasingly evident, understanding and preparing for climate risks is essential. Real estate investors can use Four Twenty Seven’s physical climate risk app for due diligence and proactive risk management across their portfolio of properties. Portfolio managers can leverage the application to report climate risk exposure and enhance portfolio decision-making. Asset owners can evaluate long-term risk exposure and engage with corporations and managers to improve resilience. Banks can score thousands of locations at once to identify risk in commercial and residential lending portfolios. Corporations can identify risk hotspots and opportunities to build resilience in their global operations.
“We are excited to bring our on-demand physical climate risk application to the market. Our app provides access to sophisticated climate model outputs in easily understandable metrics with just a few clicks,” says Four Twenty Seven’s Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati. “Real-time access to forward-looking, location-specific data on climate risk enables investors, banks and corporations to manage their risk and invest in resilience.”
Aggregated Four Twenty Seven climate risk data is now available on the Moody’s Analytics commercial real estate (CRE) platform, the REIS Network. This platform allows users to search extensive real estate data from many applications. Read the press release from Moody’s Analytics:
NEW YORK, February 4, 2020 – Moody’s Analytics is pleased to announce that data and analytics from Four Twenty Seven are now available on the REIS Network, its flagship commercial real estate (CRE) data platform. This combination of data and analytics enables CRE professionals to better understand the exposure of their real estate assets to the physical impacts of climate change, and to factor that insight into their investment decision-making processes.
Four Twenty Seven, which is majority-owned by Moody’s, provides scores and portfolio analytics that quantify exposures to the physical impacts of climate change across a range of asset classes. Each location is analyzed for vulnerability to the physical risks of climate-related factors and other environmental issues such as heat stress, water stress, sea level rise, floods, and extreme weather events.
REIS Network users now have access to aggregated climate risk scores from Four Twenty Seven, which show climate risk threshold levels for commercial property locations ranging from ‘no risk’ to ‘red flag’ or extremely high risk. Together with property data and analytical tools from Moody’s Analytics and our Network partners, the REIS Network is a modular solution offering a holistic view of more than 7 million US CRE locations. Users can transfer data from one product to another within the REIS network of applications and compare multiple sources simultaneously.
“Increasing frequency and intensity of climate events means that understanding the physical impacts of climate change is a priority for all organizations. CRE market participants are particularly exposed to physical risks associated with climate hazards, which could severely impact properties and surrounding communities,” said Keith Berry, Head of the Moody’s Analytics Accelerator. “We are proud to collaborate with our colleagues at Four Twenty Seven to enable more multi-faceted analysis of commercial locations in alignment with our goal of becoming a leading source of data and analytics for the CRE market.”
“We are excited to see the addition of Four Twenty Seven’s climate risk analytics to the Moody’s Analytics REIS Network,” said Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder and CEO of Four Twenty Seven. “It demonstrates the complementary analytical capabilities of Moody’s and Four Twenty Seven, which together provide an ideal path to help market participants identify the best opportunities that meet their risk profile.”
This collaboration demonstrates Moody’s ongoing commitment, as a global integrated risk assessment firm, to advancing global standards for evaluating climate change, environmental, social and governance (ESG), and sustainable finance risks.
Click here to learn more about the Moody’s Analytics REIS Network.
Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments on climate risk and resilience. This month we feature an analysis of the economic risks of wildfires, highlight a Moody's report on climate risk of US utilities and share recent action by central banks.
In Focus: Impacts of Australia's Bushfires
427 Analysis - What California's Wildfires May Foreshadow in Australia
The analysis discusses wide-ranging outcomes in real estate markets, ranging from Santa Rosa, CA's increasing housing costs and mini economic boom after the 2017 fires to Paradise, CA's transformation from a town of 26,000 to a town of 2,000 and nearby Chico's associated 20% population grown and real estate boom due to fire evacuees.
A municipality's ability to rebound after a fire is largely determined by insurance penetration, percent of housing stock lost and whether or not there was long-term emigration from the area. However, cities not themselves touched by flames are also affected, from evacuees to toxic smoke. Preparing for this new normal is challenging, with many considerations to balance. California's costly "Public Safety Power Shutoffs" in the Bay Area last fall highlight the progress that still needs to be made in developing effective preventative measures for wildfires.
Moody's Investors Service Analysis - US Regulated Electric Utilities Face Varied Exposure to Climate Hazards
Moody's new analysis leverages Four Twenty Seven's physical climate risk data to explore the exposure of regulated electric utilities to climate hazards, finding that there is varying exposure to climate risk which may be mitigated by adaptation. Changing temperature and humidity trends can lead to drastic changes in energy demand, while higher temperatures can reduce production capacity. These hazards are particularly prevalent in the Midwest and in southern Florida. Water stress is typically credit-negative for electric utilities which depend on water for cooling. Utilities in California and the Colorado River region are particularly exposed to water stress. The report highlights the utilities most exposed to these and other hazards, discusses the implications for their credit and emphasizes the importance of resilience investments to mitigate these risks.
New Warnings on the Material Risks of Climate Change
Financial Actors and Corporate Leaders Urged to Take Climate Seriously
While physical climate risks are expected to occur on a longer time frame than many credit maturities, recent extreme weather events have made banks and other financial actors increasingly aware of the need to factor physical climate risks into decision-making. In their article, "The Changing Climate of Credit Risk Management," Four Twenty Seven's Chief Development Officer, Frank Freitas and Moody's Head of Portfolio and Balance Sheet Research, Amnon Levy, also highlight that "as a rule, more than half a firm’s value can be attributed to cash flows beyond 20 or 30 years." This underscores the materiality of climate risks that become increasingly prominent in the next several years.
Central Banks Move on Climate Risk Analysis
Climate Change - The Green Swan
"Traditional backward-looking risk assessments and existing climate-economic models cannot anticipate accurately enough the form that climate-related risks will take. These include what we call 'green swan' risks: potentially extremely financially disruptive events that could be behind the next systemic financial crisis." The Bank for International Settlements in collaboration with the Banque de France, released a new book on climate change, financial stability & the role of central banks.
Bank of England Consultation Paper on Climate Risk Scenarios
The Bank of England announced plans to integrate transition and physical climate risk into its Biennial Exploratory Scenario exercise in 2021. Building on the climate risk stress test for insurers released last year, this exercise will apply to both banks and insurers in 2021. The Bank welcomes feedback on its approach by March 18, 2020.
The French Central Bank's Climate Risk Stress Tests
During this webinar, FourTwenty Seven Senior Analyst, Lindsay Ross, will provide a demo of Four Twenty Seven’s on-demand physical climate risk application. Register here.
Inside the Office at Four Twenty Seven
Meet Controller, Yang Jing
Four Twenty Seven welcomes Yang as Controller. Yang implements efficient processes and policies in compliance with US and international accounting standards and Moody’s accounting policies. She is a Senior Vice President in Accounting for Moody’s, where she works with business leaders to ensure compliance with SEC and international accounting regulations while providing near real-time financial data to enable executive decision-making.
Join the Team! Four Twenty Seven is Hiring
There are several opportunities to join Four Twenty Seven's dynamic team in offices across the U.S. and Europe. See the open positions below and visit our Careers page for more information.
Climate Risk Analyst with expertise in translating applied climate change science for a wide range of stakeholders
Regional Sales Directors (North America and United Kingdom), with extensive experience selling and supporting data products and services for large commercial, financial and government institutions
January 29, 2020 – 427 ANALYSIS. As Australia’s bushfires rage on, questions arise on the long-term impacts on human health, biodiversity and the economy. This analysis shares lessons learned from the recovery from recent wildfires in California to offer some pointers of what might happen when the bushfires finally subside. While immediate economic impacts include emergency relief bills, business interruptions, costly loss of goods and reduction in tourism, the long-term impacts vary based on municipalities’ financial resources, economic make-up and preparedness.
Real Estate Markets
Over the past three years wildfires have razed thousands of buildings across California, destroying multiple communities. The impacts on real estate markets varies depending on the share of properties destroyed in a local community, as well as insurance penetration. After five percent of Santa Rosa’s housing stock burned in 2017, the city experienced an increase in property prices and rents following the fire: displaced households needed new dwellings, construction workers and emergency relief officials needed housing and amenities, and local businesses found new clientele. Although an estimated 3,300 people left Sonoma County after the 2017 fires, in Santa Rosa, CA, rebuilding has occurred more rapidly than expected. The areas affected by the fires had relatively high insurance rates, and families were able to pay for the reconstruction of their houses. Irreplaceable personal items were lost, but the city experienced a mini-economic boom due to construction in the area.
In contrast, the city of Paradise went from 26,000 residents before the Camp Fire down to 2,000. More than one year later, only a handful of houses have been rebuilt, and many residents struggle with whether they should move back. Insurance penetration was much lower in Paradise, and many low-income households cannot afford to rebuild their lives there.
Aside from short-term shortages in housing stock, long-term impacts on real estate and local economies depend on two main factors: whether the area experienced a permanent or long-term population loss, and whether insurance companies continue to offer policies for the area. This phenomenon has also been at play after other climate-related events, such as when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. The storm led to a four percent decrease in the island’s population.
Impacts can also indirectly touch other communities near wildfires: the same Camp Fire that devastated Paradise narrowly missed the neighboring city of Chico, CA. While Paradise’s economy has yet to recover, within three months of the fire, Chico’s population grew by 20%, with the addition of about 20,000 people. While Chico became the nation’s hottest real estate market the month after the fire, it also missed relief funds offered to towns touched by flames. From a sewer system now tasked with transporting 600,000 more gallons per day, to the need for more police force and a higher hospital demand, a year after the event, the city struggled to accommodate a population the city planners hadn’t expected for a decade.
In California, the biggest impact was on the utility sector. As power lines and electric equipment were found to have started the wildfires, the liability ultimately resulted in Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) bankruptcy, coined “the first climate-change bankruptcy.” In Australia fires are most often started by dry lightning so utilities are not so exposed to liability risk, but may still be exposed to significant costs from disruptions and repairs associated with wildfires.
Beyond utilities and insurance, businesses across sectors face several short-term risks from wildfires, including business interruptions, labor shortages and reduced consumer activity due to evacuations or smoke which can affect urban centers not themselves touched by flames. Businesses may also face increased costs due to equipment and property damage or loss. In the long term, recurring wildfires could decrease attractiveness of certain parts of Australia, which would reduce companies’ hiring pool and decrease tourism revenues.
Residents’ decisions to stay in a recovering area is largely affected by whether insurance companies choose to provide coverage or pull out after wildfires. This in turn, is a key factor in the viability of long-term development and the strength of cities’ tax bases. Faced with potential population loss, local governments may attempt to provide public insurance if private insurers leave a city or region, such as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in the U.S. However, as seen with the NFIP, this mechanism can lead to unsustainable development and a moral hazard, encouraging unwise economic decisions by shifting risks from the individual buying property, to the government and therefore the public.
The desire to help an area rebuild needs to be balanced against a forward-looking perspective on the new realities of climate change. As temperatures increase, droughts become more common and wildfire conditions become more frequent, climate change will make some areas no longer suitable for human settlement. In California some insurers have stopped offering wildfire insurance to certain fire-prone counties. After careful deliberation the state recommended the creation of a Wildfire Victims Fund to help pay claims to wildfire victims, while also supporting wildfire mitigation. However, this comes alongside recommendations to require home and community fire risk reduction standards, establish a development fee for new construction in the wildland-urban interface, and mandate that new development must be reachable by firefighters within a maximum amount of time.
The impact of wildfires on a city’s credit rating may also affect its economic prospects after an event. Issuers in Sonoma County were not downgraded after the 2017 fires, because of their strong credit quality, insurance coverage, commitment to rebuilding and long-term economic viability. The County has an emergency reserve fund, which helped make up the shortfall in property taxes for destroyed properties, assuaging any concern from rating agencies on their balance sheet post-disaster.
Suburban wildfire smoke is particularly dangerous because burning gas stations, buildings, cars and other man-made materials releases many toxins, along with tiny PM 2.5 particles. The long-term impacts of inhaling countless chemicals are not yet fully understood but will likely exacerbate the well-documented damage to lungs and hearts caused by PM 2.5 particles. As public health costs increase, municipalities’ expenses may rise and human productivity may decline, posing additional risk to economies and communities made fragile by wildfire.
As climate change increases the occurrences of wildfires across the globe, policymakers and communities will need to balance these considerations and invest in adaptation and resilience to limit the impact of future fires.
Four Twenty Seven works with investors and businesses to provide portfolio hotpot screenings and real time due diligence with site-specific data on heat stress, water stress and other climate risks. Wildfire analytics are forthcoming. Contact us for more detailed analysis and site-specific data on climate risk exposure and its economic impacts.