Weathering Wildfires: 427 Interview

Director of Analytics, Nik Steinberg, discusses wildfire risk, impacts and prevention efforts, on the Midday Briefing. Nik explains implications of increasingly frequent and severe wildfires for the insurance industry and homeowners and shares several ideas for adapting to these risks. While fires have always occurred, climate change is changing the landscape of the wildland-urban interface and residents and policy-makers must understand their wildfire risks and implement preventative strategies. The economic implications are huge for utilities, shareholders and communities, but with intentional planning businesses, governments and residents have the opportunity to mitigate loss.

 

Newsletter: Are we doing enough? The state of climate adaptation in the US

 

 

Four Twenty Seven’s monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month, don’t miss a review of U.S. climate adaptation and a close look at opportunities to build resilience through collaboration.

In Focus: The State of Climate Adaptation


Are we doing enough? How is the field of adaptation developing in the United States? Rising to the Challenge, Together: A Review and Critical Assessment of the State of the US Climate Adaptation Field explores the field’s development, potential and challenges. Commissioned by the Kresge Foundation, the report was co-authored by Susanne C. Moser of Susanne Moser Research and Consulting, Joyce Coffee of Climate Resilience Consulting, and Aleka Seville in her capacity as Four Twenty Seven’s Director of Community Adaptation in 2017.

Based on a literature review and dozens of interviews with thought leaders and adaptation practitioners, this report finds that the emerging field of climate adaptation must continue to develop with increased urgency. Communities across the country are experimenting with adaptation, with the support of a growing knowledge base and suite of tools, and boosted by new actors including utility managers, private sector interests and philanthropy.

However, the field is largely crisis-driven and fails to adequately address the social equity aspects of adaptation choices, that should ensure all people benefit regardless of socio-economic status or race.  It also lacks a shared vision, consistent funding and agreed upon best practices among other shortcomings, the report found. The report recommends aggressive acceleration of adaptation planning, coordination across jurisdictions, and implementation among advocates, planners, and funders. Read more.

Read the Report

The United States of Climate Change


With examples from every state in the U.S. this United States of Climate Change” feature from The Weather Channel displays the vast, dire and varied implications of climate change. It also documents communities’ efforts to adapt to a rapidly changing world. From new species of pathogen-hosting mosquitoes flourishing in Mississippi to “flash droughts” threatening barley in small Montana towns that depend on selling the crop to beer brewers, there is a plethora of local stories highlighting cultural, social and economic impacts of climate change. The Washington Post reports on the thinking behind Weather.com’s framing of this feature.

For more examples of climate change’s local impacts, read about Four Twenty Seven’s work examining the impacts of climate change on Delaware’s workforce and our analysis of extreme heat and public health in Denver.

Working with businesses to build community resilience

As increasing numbers of climate disasters cause over $1 billion in damages, the economic impacts of these events are widespread and ongoing. California wine-growers will feel the financial effects for years as they work to rebuild their vineyards, while the communities that depend on this economy will also feel these consequences. Four Twenty Seven’s blog post “Working with Businesses to Build Community Resilience” outlines opportunities for local governments and businesses to support each other in adaptation efforts.

Businesses and communities depend on each other and have important roles to play in collaborative climate change preparation. While businesses rely on resilient infrastructure and city services, they can also support community recovery efforts and participate in planning. Likewise, local governments can create collaborative networks, share resources and engage businesses. Read more.

Read the Blog

Resources on Engaging Businesses in Adaptation

For more insight on corporate adaptation read the Caring for Climate report, The Business Case for Corporate Adaptation, which highlights the benefits for businesses to build their awareness of climate risk and opportunities for policymakers to encourage corporate adaptation.

Will Amazon HQ2 consider resilience?

Eager for an opportunity for up to 50,000 jobs and a potential $5 billion in investment, twenty cities received the anticipated advancement to the list of finalists for Amazon’s HQ2 last month. Among this short list is the Southeast Florida bid, a collaboration between Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties.

These counties have experience working together through the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, which also includes Monroe County. The compact’s Regional Climate Action Plan emphasizes the importance of regional strategies to build resilient economies and communities. Now the benefits of this collaboration are becoming increasingly clear, as many of the regional compact’s priorities, such as addressing sea level rise and improving infrastructure, are also important for bolstering economic success by helping to attract Amazon and other businesses to the region.

Inside the Office at Four Twenty Seven

Meet the Team: Lindsay Ross

Four Twenty Seven is delighted to welcome Lindsay Ross, who joins the team as a Senior Analyst, Macroeconomic Risks. Lindsay analyzes the economic impacts of climate change on corporations and financial markets. She studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), focusing on Energy, Resources, and the Environment as well as International Finance and Economics. Previously she worked for the U.S. International Trade Commission, assisting with research on the impacts of international trade on the U.S. economy.

Upcoming Events

Join the Four Twenty Seven team in the field at these upcoming events:

  • February 13: Climate Risk: From Assessment to Action, Washington, DC: CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, will speak on a panel at this workshop hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank
  • February 28 – March 2: Climate Leadership Conference, Denver, CO: Climate Adaptation Senior Analyst, Kendall Starkman, will attend this gathering of climate, sustainability and energy professionals.
  • March 6: Inaugural Conference: Northern European Partnership for Sustainable Finance (NEPSF), London, UK. Emilie Mazzacurati will join the launch of this new Partnership to support sustainable finance.
  • June 18-21: Adaptation Futures 2018, Cape Town, South Africa: Director of Advisory Services, Yoon Kim, will facilitate a session at this conference, exploring integrating climate risks into infrastructure investment decisions.
  • August 28-29: 3rd California Adaptation Forum, Sacramento, CA: Save the date for this opportunity to join over 600 climate leaders in workshops, sessions and networking around adaptation action in California.

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Report: A Review of Climate Adaptation in the US

Events once considered “hundred year” disasters increasingly occur several times in individual lifetimes. In the face of urgent crisis, community leaders, businesses, nonprofits and individuals have seen a need to build resilience, to preserve human lives and the economies upon which they depend. Recognizing the emergence of a field of climate adaptation and seeking details on the field’s development, potential and challenges, the Kresge Foundation commissioned an assessment of the field of adaptation. This project culminated in a report, Rising to the Challenge, Together: A Review and Critical Assessment of the State of the US Climate Adaptation Field, by  Susanne C. Moser of Susanne Moser Research and Consulting, Joyce Coffee of Climate Resilience Solutions, and Aleka Seville, Four Twenty Seven’s Director of Community Adaptation at the time. Read the full press release below:

Download the Full ReportDownload the Executive Summary • Download the Appendices

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The emerging field of climate adaptation is growing in sophistication and influence, but there is a significant gap between the magnitude of the challenge and existing efforts to protect people and property from climate volatility, according to a report released today.

“Rising to the Challenge, Together” provides a critical assessment of the state of the climate adaptation field in the U.S. It was commissioned by The Kresge Foundation and authored by a trio of adaptation experts: Susanne C. Moser of Susanne Moser Research and Consulting; Joyce Coffee of Climate Resilience Consulting; and Aleka Seville of Four Twenty Seven, Inc.

The report finds that the challenge of climate adaptation and resilience is an everyday reality for decision makers across the United States. Climate change is widely recognized as a critical – possibly existential – threat to humans, other species, and the natural systems on which all life depends. As climate impacts accelerate and population grows in vulnerable areas, disasters are more frequent and more devastating.  Supercharged storms, catastrophic wildfires, and deadly heatwaves affect growing numbers of Americans – particularly those with low incomes who are least able to avoid or minimize the impact of severe events.

Communities across the country are experimenting with adaptation, defined as the management of and preparation for the impacts of global climate change and related extremes. They are aided by a growing knowledge base and suite of tools, and boosted by new actors including utility managers, private sector interests and philanthropy.

However, the field is largely crisis-driven and fails to adequately address the social equity aspects of adaptation choices, that should ensure all people benefit regardless of socio-economic status or race.  It also lacks a shared vision, consistent funding and agreed upon best practices among other shortcomings, the report found.

“Our research revealed a growing core of professionals, committed municipal leaders, engaged community residents and others who are proactively identifying ways to make their cities and regions more resilient,” said author Susanne C. Moser. “But without much-accelerated efforts to expand and professionalize the adaptation field we fear communities, businesses and particularly the most vulnerable are at growing risk. To ensure their safety, well-being and prosperity, we must rapidly come together to slow the release of planet-warming greenhouse gases; invest in smarter, more resilient systems, infrastructure and planning practices; and do both while building social cohesion and equity.”

The report’s findings and recommendations were the basis of a next-steps conversation among several dozen climate-resilience experts and thought leaders at a January 22 workshop in Washington, D.C. At that meeting participants discussed ways to better disseminate promising resilience practices, embed climate resilience in planning and policymaking, and generate new financing mechanisms for the work.

The report recommends aggressive acceleration of adaptation planning, coordination across jurisdictions, and implementation among advocates, planners, and funders. Leaders must press the urgency of addressing climate change both through adaptation and mitigation – pushing the field to think bigger, bolder and deeper. At the same time, funding support must grow and policy incentives should be aligned to support the incorporation of resilience across different practices and sectors.

“This report highlights the urgency of building climate adaptation as a field of practice,” said Lois DeBacker, managing director of The Kresge Foundation’s Environment Program. “It is critical to expand the number of people who understand the imperative of acting quickly, which actions yield the best and most effective protections against climate change-fueled events, and how to approach climate resilience in ways that advance equity.”

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Working with Businesses to Build Community Resilience

The year 2017 will stay on the record as one of the most expensive years to date for climate and weather disaster events. The U.S. experienced 16 weather and climate disasters that caused over $1 billion in damages, tying the record year of 2011 for the most billion-dollar disasters. From summer through the fall, wildfires in various parts of California led to fatalities, destruction of entire communities, and damage costs of $18 billion, with economic consequences that will continue to impact the region. These events have highlighted that climate change has already begun to and will continue to impact local communities and businesses, and that local economies will benefit from more coordinated resilience planning.

Communities across the U.S. are taking steps to identify their climate change risks and enhance their resilience to changing climate conditions. Many local governments have assessed their vulnerabilities and are developing resilience plans with support from local stakeholders. However, a key set of stakeholders are often not at the table: businesses. Collaboration between local governments and the business community on climate change resilience remains limited. As local and regional climate change planning continues, it becomes increasingly important for local governments to engage with businesses, both large and small, on these issues.

The success of businesses and communities is intertwined

Many larger companies recognize the impacts of climate change on their operations, including risks to physical assets, disruptions to supply chains, and impacts on their workforce. In fact, some businesses, like Google, are examining how to develop company resilience strategies that address changing climate conditions. Businesses are also dependent on public infrastructure and local government services, and climate risks on these “outside the fence” components are much harder for businesses to evaluate. In fact, a number of companies have highlighted these uncertainties as a major barrier in addressing adaptation.

Local governments are dependent on the private sector in many ways. Businesses are essential to the economic health and growth of communities. Business interruptions can affect the quality of life for residents, disrupt the local economy, and reduce tax revenues. The costs of Hurricane Harvey are still being evaluated, but preliminary estimates suggest that lost economic output from this storm was in the range of $9 billion to $11 billion, including $540 million for goods-producing industries and $141 million for oil and gas industries. The October 2017 wildfires in California’s wine country are estimated to have caused economic losses between $6 and $8 billion dollars due to property damage and business interruptions alone, with $789 million in commercial property claims. These costs do not include the potential losses to the wine industry for many years to come.

Local governments have a strong interest in ensuring that businesses are resilient and remain operational as the climate continues to change. Companies will also benefit from engaging with the public sector on community resilience to enhance their business continuity plans and support their employees. In addition to better protecting their employees and operations, this type of collaboration will help businesses better understand community needs.

Businesses can assist local governments with expertise and solutions

Larger businesses often already understand local risks because of internal risk management processes. Risk management and emergency management plans, along with drills and training exercises with employees, help businesses prepare for extreme events. Local governments can coordinate with businesses on risk management, including participating in drills and trainings, to build and maintain community resilience.

Local governments can also use larger companies’ expertise and data on risk. Businesses may be monitoring information that could be relevant to local resilience planning. For example, utilities often track potential risks to their assets, such as those related to storms (e.g., wind, precipitation, flooding), wildfire, and temperature impacts on energy demand. This information can be helpful to local decision-makers in both emergency management and long-term resilience planning.

The private sector also offers opportunities in services and solutions. Businesses are often interested in developing and improving technologies, engineering approaches, technical assistance, and opportunities to connect with their communities. For example, Airbnb offered disaster relief to people impacted by the California wildfires, connecting displaced residents to available housing. The company also worked with the City of San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management to share their lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy. Airbnb is also partnering with various local governments to help communities prepare for and recover from disasters. Local governments’ suggestions for climate change solutions and services can help businesses tailor their products to best serve the community.

In addition, financing for implementing community resilience can often be a challenge for local governments. The private sector can offer financing solutions to help fund climate change resilience. For example, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is investing $1 million over five years through their Better Together Resilient Communities grant program to support local climate resilience initiatives in California.

Local governments can share data and information with businesses

Some local governments have undertaken vulnerability assessments and climate change scenario planning for their regions. The data and results from these studies can be shared with businesses to help them understand what assumptions are being used by local governments, and whether their scenarios align, which will be increasingly important to ensure regional coordination as conditions change.

While larger companies may undertake scenario planning and vulnerability assessments, most small businesses do not. However, small businesses can also benefit from data and information sharing. Small companies do not often have the expertise or resources to adequately assess climate change risks and undertake resilience planning. Local governments can share information with small businesses to help them better understand their potential risks and prepare for extreme events. In California, Valley Vision has developed the Capital Region Business Resiliency Initiative to help engage the small business community in resilience planning. This effort helps small businesses engage with local stakeholders to understand potential risks and provides resources to help these businesses plan for disaster resilience.

Local governments can engage with businesses through existing networks or by creating new processes to assist with engagement

Local governments can engage with both small and large businesses through networks and organizations for the private sector, like local chambers of commerce, trade associations, and other business networking groups. For example, the City of Annapolis has engaged the Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Annapolis Partnership in its Weather It Together initiative, which is focused on adapting the historic community to minimize the risks associated with flooding. Through this effort, local businesses are part of the planning process to help the community become more resilient. The City of Cambridge, Massachusetts has also engaged businesses in long-term planning efforts like the Cambridge Compact and the city’s Climate Change Preparedness & Resilience Plan. Establishing public-private partnerships focused on climate resilience will also help to facilitate conversations and collaboration between these two sectors.

Local governments may already engage with businesses individually, but it can be helpful to set up an ongoing process for involving the private sector in resilience planning. For example, business representatives can participate in local planning and advisory committees, contributing their perspectives and identifying any key issues for the business community. Effectively engaging the business community will often require targeted outreach and potentially different strategies, as businesses may not be aware of ongoing stakeholder processes or may not realize their relevance to company needs. Some communities have incorporated businesses into resilience planning through regional climate collaboratives. Several regional climate collaboratives in California focus on engaging different stakeholder groups, including businesses, to further climate change planning. For example, the Sierra Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership was founded by the Sierra Business Council and has various business members, including ski resorts and forestry companies.

Effectively preparing for climate change’s impacts requires that cities coordinate with many different stakeholders. Businesses, public agencies, community groups, and citizens are all important to the discussion on community resilience, as they will all be impacted by climate change and have important ideas to contribute. Engaging the private sector is an important way for local governments to improve community resilience, and will benefit both the public and private sector through information sharing, aligning needs and goals, and developing multi-sector networks.

Newsletter: New Report on Climate Risk in Infrastructure Investments

 

 

Four Twenty Seven’s monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month, don’t miss funding opportunities for local adaptation and a closer look at resilient infrastructure! 

In Focus: Infrastructure Resilience

Lenders’ Guide: Considering Climate Risk in Infrastructure Investments


Climate change poses multifaceted physical risks for infrastructure investors, including decreasing revenue due to operational capacity limits, increasing maintenance costs from physical damage, decreasing asset value, and increasing liability and debt. Four Twenty Seven, with our partners Acclimatise and Climate Finance Advisers, published today the Lenders’ Guide for Considering Climate Risk in Infrastructure Investments.” This new report provides banking institutions and infrastructure investors with a brief introduction to the ways that physical climate risks can affect infrastructure investment. The guide includes ten illustrative “snapshots” describing climate change considerations in example sub-industries such as commercial real estate, power plants, and hospitals.

Read Lender’s Guide

Built to Last

The Union of Concerned Scientists’ white paper, Built to Last: Challenges and Opportunities for Climate-Smart Infrastructure in California, responds to Executive Order B-30-15, which mandates that state agencies plan for climate change. The paper makes suggestions for policies that support resilient infrastructure with co-benefits for human and ecosystem health and mitigation. Recommendations cover tools and standards, financial assessments and institutional capacity building.

Read the White Paper

How to Incorporate Climate in Local Planning

Local Adaptation Planning: Four Twenty Seven’s Process Guide

United States cities face increasing challenges from climate change impacts and increasing legislation requiring that they prepare for these impacts. Through our work assisting eight cities in Alameda County in responding to California’s Senate Bill No. 379 Land Use: General Plan: Safety Element (Jackson) (SB 379), Four Twenty Seven developed a streamlined process to support local governments’ efforts to integrate climate risks into key planning efforts, such as local hazard mitigation plans, general plans and climate action plans. SB 379 requires cities and counties in California to incorporate adaptation and resilience strategies into General Plan Safety Elements and Local Hazard Mitigation Plans starting in 2017.

Four Twenty Seven’s Process Guide for Local Adaptation Planning outlines two steps for effective climate adaptation planning: 1) a hazard assessment to determine vulnerability and 2) identification of appropriate adaptation options.

Read the Process Guide

“Planning and Investing for a Resilient California” – Guidance Document

As fires and floods rage up and down the coast and lives and livelihoods are lost and damaged, the call for resilience feels increasingly urgent each day. A resilient California is a state with strong infrastructure, communities and natural systems that can withstand increasingly volatile conditions.
To support the implementation of  Executive Order B-30-15, mandating that state agencies plan for climate change, the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research released “Planning and Investing for a Resilient California,” a guidance document outlining strategies to include climate adaptation in decision-making. Four Twenty Seven CEO Emilie Mazzacurati served on the Technical Advisory Group that wrote the report.

The guide outlines four steps for integrating climate into decisions: characterizing climate risk, analyzing climate risk, making climate-informed decisions and monitoring progress. Ending with a closer look at investing in resilient infrastructure, the document provides actionable guidelines for building a resilient California.

Read the Guidance Document

Climate Change Threatens City Credit Ratings

“What we want people to realize is: If you’re exposed, we know that. We’re going to ask questions about what you’re doing to mitigate that exposure,” Lenny Jones, a managing director at Moody’s was quoted by Bloomberg. “That’s taken into your credit ratings.” Jones is explaining the thinking behind a recent Moody’s report that urged cities and states to act upon their climate risk or face potential credit downgrades. Moody’s is not the only credit agency in this conversation, as others including Standard & Poor’s are increasingly publicizing their inclusion of climate risk in credit ratings.These steps by rating agencies may provide the extra impetus that municipalities need to examine their climate risks and take action.

Four Twenty Seven conducts research on urban resilience to climate risks and offers real asset screening and portfolio analytics to help investors identify and respond to risks in their portfolios.

Funding Opportunities and Finance Guide

Resilient by Design Finance Guide

The recently published Finance Guide for Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge Design Teams, for challenge participants, outlines traditional funding resources for infrastructure in California and describes other potential funding opportunities that have not traditionally been used for this purpose. It also highlights requirements particular to this state.

Funding Opportunities

The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) is accepting grant proposals for funding from Proposition 1. Priorities for this funding include projects that address sea level rise, benefit marine managed areas, support fishery infrastructure that protects ecosystems, and reduce the risk of communities to hazardous sites threatened by flooding. Find all relevant information on OPC’s Prop 1 website.

The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) has initiated a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for federally recognized tribes, local governments, nonprofits and state agencies to implement FEMA approved Local Hazard Mitigation Plans.Deadline: January 30, 2018.

Inside the Office at Four Twenty Seven

Meet Andrew Tom, Business Data Analyst

Four Twenty Seven is proud to announce the addition of Andrew Tom to our team. Andrew supports the business data extraction process used in analyzing climate risk for companies and financial markets.

Previously, Andrew led development of various data science projects and prototypes involving machine learning techniques, natural language processing and graph networks. He has also worked in the California State Legislature and in nonprofit leadership capacities.

Upcoming Events

Join the Four Twenty Seven team in the field at these upcoming events:

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Copyright © 2017 Four Twenty Seven, All rights reserved.
Four Twenty Seven sends a newsletter focused on bringing climate intelligence into economic and financial decision-making for Fortune 500 companies, investors, and government institutions.Our mailing address is:
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Local Adaptation Planning – Process Guide

United States cities already face challenges from climate change due to impacts on communities, infrastructure and other assets and resources. Local jurisdictions that repair infrastructure, make land use decisions, and engage communities in a way that accounts for ongoing and future change can help make their cities more resilient. A growing number of local jurisdictions are adopting plans and engaging in voluntary commitments to mitigate and adapt to climate change. A wide range of available resources makes this possible, and climate legislation increasingly requires it, but both can also make implementing a cohesive, streamlined adaptation strategy difficult. This Process Guide outlines an effective adaptation planning process for local governments.

Through our work assisting eight cities in Alameda County in responding to California’s Senate Bill No. 379 Land Use: General Plan: Safety Element (Jackson) (SB 379), Four Twenty Seven has developed a streamlined process to support local governments in their efforts to integrate climate risks into key planning efforts, such as local hazard mitigation plans, general plans, and climate action plans. SB 379 requires cities and counties in California to incorporate adaptation and resilience strategies into General Plan Safety Elements and Local Hazard Mitigation Plans starting in 2017. Our process for effective climate adaptation planning includes 1) a hazard assessment to determine vulnerability and 2) identification of appropriate adaptation options.

By starting with a climate hazard assessment, cities can identify the specific hazards that pose the greatest threats to their assets. After applicable climate hazards are identified, it is important to develop adaptation plans that build on and can be integrated into existing city policies. This Guide outlines our process for assisting cities with adaptation planning, and identifies useful resources, tools and process elements to inform integrated climate hazard assessment and adaptation planning.

Download the full Process Guide.

Read a Case Study on Integrating Climate Risks into Local Planning in Alameda County and learn about our advisory services in adaptation planning, policy consulting and vulnerability assessments.

Planning and Investing for a Resilient California – Guidance Document

Climate change impacts are already being felt in California and will continue to affect populations, infrastructure and businesses in the coming years. A resilient California is a state with strong infrastructure, communities and natural systems that can withstand increasingly volatile conditions. Executive Order B-30-15, signed by Gov. Brown in April 2015,  mandates that all state agencies must consider climate change and that they must receive guidance on how to effectively do so.

To support the implementation of this Executive Order, the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research released last week “Planning and Investing for a Resilient California,” a guidance document outlining strategies to include climate adaptation in decision-making. Four Twenty Seven CEO Emilie Mazzacurati served on the Technical Advisory Group that wrote the report, which aims to provide guidance for state agencies to both plan for future climate conditions and also conduct planning itself in a new way.

The guide outlines four steps for integrating climate into decisions and then looks specifically at investing in resilient infrastructure, providing actionable guidelines for building a resilient California.

Four Steps to Planning for Resilience

1. Characterize climate risk

  • Determine the scale and scope of climate risk, ranking it as low, moderate or high impact.
  • Identify the vulnerability of impacted communities and systems, ranking them as adaptable, moderately adaptable or vulnerable.
  • Define the nature of the risk,  ranking it as temporary, limiting or permanent.
  • Identify the economic impacts of the risk, ranking them as low, medium or high.

2. Analyze climate risk

  • Determine which emissions scenario (RCP) to plan for: the higher the risk identified in step 1, the higher the necessary RCP scenario.
  • Determine complexity of uncertainty analysis needed: the higher the risk, the more important the uncertainty analysis.
  • If a project is in a current coastal zone, or a location that will be coastal by 2050 or 2100, planning must account for sea level rise.
  • Worst case scenarios should be identified for reference, but don’t need to be planned for.
  • Cal-Adapt is an interactive online tool, displaying climate impacts by hazard, with downloadable downscaled data.

3. Make climate-informed decisions, by using resilient design guidelines

  • Prioritize approaches that integrate adaptation and mitigation.
  • Prioritize actions that promote equity and community resilience.
  • Coordinate with local and regional agencies, including governments and community based organizations.
  • Prioritize actions that use natural infrastructure.
  • Base all choices on the best science.

4. Track and Monitor Progress

  • Develop metrics and report regularly to foster transparency and accountability.

Case Study: California Water Plan 2013

Several state agencies are already integrating climate change into their planning. The Department of Water Resources used a scenarios approach to capture uncertainty in climate, but also in demographics, economic change and land use. Examining 22 different climate scenarios, analyzing different temperature and precipitation possibilities and accounting for growth uncertainty, the agency looked at 198 possible futures. This allowed them to examine different possible management approaches and how they may reduce certain vulnerabilities. This quantitative estimate provided a range of future conditions and possible strategies for the agency to consider in its planning.

Infrastructure Investment

The state of California invests in infrastructure through funding of onsite renewable energy and telecommunications, providing financial assistance to projects not owned by the state and providing capital for all steps of infrastructure development owned by the state. Regardless of the type of investment, climate change impacts must be considered. It’s important to first determine if there is a way to accomplish a goal by using natural infrastructure. Assessing the potential for natural infrastructure can be done by examining the landscape, exploring Cal-Adapt’s projections for the area, analyzing potential co-benefits such as improved ecological services or water health and consulting with other groups. It’s important to compare the risk reduction and complete costs and benefits of the natural infrastructure approach with the non-natural alternative. Using full life-cycle accounting, that considers all of the costs from a project including building, operating, maintaining and also deconstructing, is essential for evaluating proposed projects. Prioritizing infrastructure with climate benefits and integrating the resilient decision making principles will ensure that investments are resilient and climate-conscious.

Download the full report.

This guidance document is a continuation of California’s ongoing leadership in climate adaptation, which includes Senate Bill No. 379 Land Use: General Plan: Safety Element, passed in 2015. This bill mandates that every city must include adaptation and resilience strategies in General Plan Safety Elements and Local Hazard Mitigation Plans by 2017. Read about Four Twenty Seven’s work helping cities in Alameda County implement these requirements and learn about our advisory services for adaptation planning, policy consulting and vulnerability assessments.

 

 

 

Newsletter: COP23 Preview – Climate Risk Disclosure and Adaptation Finance

Four Twenty Seven’s monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month, don’t miss the highlights from the UN Principles for Responsible Investment conference and our preview of COP 23 in Bonn next month!

In Focus: A New Way to Fund Resilience


Re:focus Partners’ new report, A Guide to Public-Sector Resilience Bond Sponsorship, highlights the potential of resilience bonds to decrease both financial and physical disaster risks. By partnering with insurance agencies and issuing bonds to fund projects that are targeted at reducing specific vulnerabilities, such as flooding, city and state governments can make their communities more resilient while saving money. The report explains hazard-specific projects applicable for resilience bonds and outlines potential strategies for partnerships. Watch Four Twenty Seven CEO Emilie Mazzacurati speak on resilience finance at a Proadapt Symposium on Climate Risk and Investment.

Mainstreaming Climate Risk Disclosures

 

Climate risk reporting was at the heart of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in Person conference in Berlin. Nicolas Moreau, head of Deutsche Asset Management, encouraged investors to emphasize physical risk assessment in their portfolios in a keynote presentation featured above. Four Twenty Seven is proud to partner with Deutsche Asset Management to power new investment strategies focused on physical risk mitigation. Read about Four Twenty Seven’s work evaluating physical risk and supporting resilience in the financial sector. At the conference, PRI also announced the Climate Action 100+ initiative in collaboration with Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC), Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change and Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC).The five-year initiative will engage investors to urge top greenhouse gas emitters to decrease emissions, commit to climate risk disclosure and improve corporate governance related to climate change.

Looking Over the Horizon


The new C2ES report, Beyond the Horizon: Corporate Reporting on Climate Change, offers insight into the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure’s (TCFD) final recommendations. The report praises the recommendations’ balance, noting their appeal to investors needing more information and to companies needing flexibility. Read our analysis of the TCFD Recommendations and applicable regulation in Europe.

Early Movers


The Climate Disclosure Standards Board’s announced ten companies committed to implementing the TCFD’s recommendations within three years. This emphasis on climate risk disclosure allows for the best use of capital and supports the transition to a resilient, low-carbon world. This commitment also sets companies apart in the eyes of investors, improves their own resilience and guarantees them support from CDSB.

The Costs of Climate Change

Billion-dollar Weather Events


Recent storms join a landscape that’s increasingly dotted with widespread costly disasters. National Geographic’s Billion-dollar Weather Chart displays these events as semi-circles, color-coded by event type and sized according to the economic damage caused, and serves as a comprehensive calendar of decades of extreme weather events.

Thought Leadership: Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events

Four Twenty Seven advisor, Kate Gordon urges leaders to plan for climate change and build for resilience in her commentary on CNBC: Evacuating millions is not an ‘effective or sustainable’ response to hurricane threats.

Solomon Hsiang from UC Berkeley and Trevor Houser from Rhodium Group emphasize the importance of giving financial support to Puerto Rico in their New York Times op-ed, Don’t Let Puerto Rico Fall Into an Economic Abyss.

In his opinion piece in the Washington Post, What’s behind today’s job report? Hurricanes, low unemployment, wage growth and climate change, Jared Bernstein discusses the connections between storms and a low job report.

Four Twenty Seven at COP 23

Join Nik Steinberg, Four Twenty Seven’s Director of Analytics, at these events in Bonn, Germany for COP23.

Resilience as a Business: How the Private Sector Can Turn Climate Risk into Business and Investment  Nov. 10, 5:30 – 8:00pm, Hilton Bonn

Bringing together corporate stakeholders and private investors this event will explore the private sector’s pivotal role in mainstreaming adaptation and driving the resilience agenda.

Speakers include: Representative from Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry of Japan; Mari Yoshitaka from Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. Ltd.; Jay Koh from Lightsmith Group and GARI;  Nik Steinberg from Four Twenty Seven; and Amal-Lee Amin from Inter-American Development Bank. For more information contact proadapt@fomin.org

Measuring Progress on Climate Adaptation and Resilience: From Concepts to Practical Applications Nov. 7, 3:00-4:30pm, Meeting Room 7 (150)

Director of Analytics, Nik Steinberg will join a panel of experts discussing adaptation measurement, focusing on indicators and metrics to inform and assess resilience efforts.  This side event will be hosted by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), McGill University and the University of Notre Dame.

The costs of extreme climatic events for the financial sector: how to manage exposure? November 10, French Pavilion

Director of Analytics, Nik Steinberg will speak on a panel hosted by the Institute for Climate Economics (I4CE), discussing the financial impacts of extreme weather events and strategies to build resilience.

Finance and Resilience Side Events

Climate Action in Financial Institutions: Mainstreaming the Paris Agreement in the Financial Sector Thursday Nov 9, 3:00-4:30pm, Meeting Room 7 (150)
Hosted by the Institute for Climate Economics (I4CE), Corporacion Andina de Fomenta (CAF) and European Investment Bank (EIB).

Excellence in Climate Adaptation Nov 9, 3:00-4:30pm, Meeting Room 10 (200)
United by their vision to unite global adaptation projects, the Netherlands, Japan and UN Environment created The Global Center of Excellence on Climate Adaptation (GCECA), which will co-host this event with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.

Innovative Climate Finance Strategies and Instruments by and for Climate-Vulnerable Countries Monday Nov 13, 4:45-6:15pm, Meeting Room 9 (100)
Hosted by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) and the Philippines.

Role of Standards and Accreditation to Support Non-state Actors in Light of Paris Agreement and SDGs Friday Nov 17, 1:15-2:45pm, Meeting Room 1 (150)
Hosted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Accreditation Forum Inc. (IAF).

Four Twenty Seven: Meet the Team!

Katy Maher, Manager

Four Twenty Seven is proud to announce the addition of Katy Maher to the team. From our new location in Washington, D.C., Katy works closely with Four Twenty Seven’s public and private sector clients to conduct vulnerability assessments, develop resilience strategies and facilitate stakeholder workshops.

Katy brings more than ten years of experience supporting climate change impacts and resilience projects at international, federal, state and local levels. Her expertise also includes convening public and private sector organizations to facilitate discussion and planning on climate resilience. Prior to joining Four Twenty Seven, Katy coordinated resilience projects at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and ICF International.

Read more of Katy’s experience

Career Opportunities

Four Twenty Seven continues to grow! We are hiring for the following positions:

* Senior Analyst, Financial Climate Risk
* Business Development Manager (Paris)
* Business Data Analyst

See the position descriptions.

Upcoming Events

Join the Four Twenty Seven team in the field at these upcoming events:

  • October 10-13  SOCAP 2017, San Francisco, California: Meet with Senior Analyst Kendall Starkmann and Director of Advisory Yoon Kim to discuss impact investments and adaptation finance.
  • November 4-8  APHA 2017, Atlanta, Georgia: Director of Analytics Nik Steinberg will discuss how climate change affects health and how climate science can support decision-making in the public health sector at the APHA’s annual meeting and expo.
  • November 7-17  COP23, Bonn, Germany: Join Director of Analytics Nik Steinberg at side events at the UNFCCC’s 23rd Conference of Parties (See above for details).
  • December 6-7  RI Americas 2017, New York, New York: CEO Emilie Mazzacurati and COO Colin Shaw will attend the annual conference where Four Twenty Seven will have a booth and Emilie will present on Physical Climate Risk in Equity Portfolios.
  • December 11-15  AGU Fall Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana: Director of Analytics Nik Steinberg will be joining the Earth and Space Science community to discuss recent research trends and participate in a mix of presentations, lectures and networking opportunities.

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Newsletter: How will we pay for climate adaptation?

 

 

Extreme Storms Highlight Need for Disaster Preparation and Recovery Financing

The need for climate resilience financing could not be more visible than it has been in recent weeks. While Hurricane Harvey has weakened after dumping unprecedented amounts of rain on southeast Texas, residents in Houston and along the Gulf Coast are looking at a long recovery from widespread flooding. Around the world, monsoons in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal have affected over 41 million people, killing at least 1,000. These examples highlight the rising costs of intensifying extreme weather events.
Yet, funding and policies to aid preparation for and recovery from disasters are not keeping up. At the U.S. federal level, the National Flood Insurance Program is in debt (in part from payouts following Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy), and is facing a deadline for reauthorization. As it stands, the Program’s current access to funds is unlikely to be enough to cover the impending claims from Harvey’s damage. One proposal for restructuring the program would make repeatedly-flooded homes ineligible for federal coverage, even though 1.3 million households in the U.S have made multiple claims since 1998, and Houston specifically has seen a 500-year flood in each of the last three years. The storms have created a new urgency for lawmakers to address how cities are rebuilt for climate resilience.

DC Water’s Environmental Impact Bond to Finance Green Infrastructure

With calls from the federal government for states and cities to take on a greater portion of disaster relief costs, Washington, DC’s Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) issued the country’s first Environmental Impact Bond in September 2016 to construct green infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff and improve water quality. Under the $25 million bond, payments are tied to performance: if the green infrastructure reduces stormwater runoff by more than 41.3% during its first 12 months, DC Water will pay investors Goldman Sachs and Calvert Foundation a one-time additional payment of $3.3 million. However, if runoff reductions are less than 18.6%, investors will make a one-time Risk Share Payment of $3.3 million. Read the US Environmental Protection Agency’s summary of DC Water’s Environmental Impact Bond.

San Francisco’s Innovative Tax for Flood Protection and Wetlands Restoration

In the San Francisco Bay Area, voters approved the San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevents, and Habitat Restoration Measure (Measure AA) in June 2016, levying a $12 parcel tax to support programs protecting the wetlands and shoreline around the Bay. This is the first parcel tax in California history to apply throughout a multi-county region, and serves as a useful example of how such a tax can be used to address sea level rise issues through nature-based solutions. Measure AA will raise approximately $500 million over 20 years for the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority to grant in support of projects that will implement wetlands restoration efforts that provide multiple benefits including flood protection. Potential projects for the Restoration Authority to fund include the creation of sea level rise resilient tidal marshes, shorelines, and sea walls around the Bay. The first round of grants will be announced in early 2018, with the hope that these funds can be leveraged for additional state and federal funding. Read more about the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority.

Promoting Investments in Adaptation Through Technology Transfer

To demonstrate to market and financial institutions the viability of climate resilience investments in Tajikistan, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has partnered with the Climate Investment Funds’ Pilot Program for Climate Resilience to implement the Tajikistan Climate Resilience Financing Facility (CLIMADAPT). CLIMADAPT offers loans through local partner financial institutions to businesses, farmers and households to develop and use technologies to improve water and energy efficiency and land management practices. Projects under CLIMADAPT promote building of climate-resilient supply chains, and include modernization of technologies designed to address Tajikistan’s main climate change-related challenges of water and energy shortage, and increased soil erosion. Learn more about CLIMADAPT.

The Role of Blended Finance in Promoting Climate Resilience

 

At the PROADAPT Symposium in April 2017, Emilie Mazzacurati moderated the panel “The Role of Blended Finance in Promoting Climate Resilience,” focused on methods to create new funding mechanisms to leverage public and philanthropic funding to raise private capital for environmentally-beneficial projects. Virginie Fayolle from Acclimatise kicked off the discussion by highlighting how blended finance can be an important way to direct money towards specific projects, locations, and sectors that might not otherwise see private sector interest.Stephen Morel from OPIC noted, however, that blended finance brings certain challenges, thus requiring mechanisms to support private investor engagement in three broad categories: technical assistance, risk underwriting, and market incentives. Stacy Swann from Climate Finance Advisors drew attention to the facts that the more climate resilient a project is the more finance opportunities it is likely to present and that a project that does not take climate risks into consideration probably is not bankable.

 

Joan Larrea from Convergence closed by speaking about externalities and how transactions can have a public good element as well as a financial return. One example was a grant awarded to The Nature Conservancy to help the government of Seychelles, which was extremely indebted but also had a strong interest in protecting its coral reefs and fisheries. By helping to reshape the government’s debt profile and getting returns for their investors, they were also able to extract commitments from the Seychelles to implement certain activities that over time would protect their reefs and designate new protected fishery zones.

Watch the full panel video

Meet The Team: Daniela Vargas Mallard

Yvonne BurgessFour Twenty Seven is proud to welcome Daniela Vargas Mallard as a Senior Analyst. Daniela leverages her dual background in business strategy and environmental sustainability to collaborate in the development of Four Twenty Seven’s products integrating financial, climate and socioeconomic data for investors and corporate users. Her work supports ongoing research, product development, and business strategy, as well as other special projects. Prior to joining Four Twenty Seven, Daniela spent two years as a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company, where she worked in projects across multiple sectors, ranging from public health to oil and gas, and across geographies, from South Africa to Brazil, with a particular focus on corporate and government strategy.

Learn more about Daniela’s experience.

Join the Team!

Four Twenty Seven is hiring! We are looking for Business Data Analysts and Business Development Managers for Europe and the US: see the position descriptions.

Upcoming Events

Join the Four Twenty Seven team in the field at these upcoming events:

  • September 11-13: EcoAdapt’s Resilience Ecosystem Workshop (by invitation only), Silver Spring, MD: Nik Steinberg, Director of Analytics, will present on Four Twenty Seven’s work on climate and health.
  • September 12-13: AgriFin 2017 Forum, London, United Kingdom: Yoon Kim, Director of Advisory Services,will speak about integrating climate risk into financial decisions at the Financing Low-Carbon Resilience Agriculture global forum hosted by the World Bank.
  • September 18-24: Climate Week NYC 2017, New York, NY: Four Twenty Seven CEO Emilie Mazzacurati will participate to the Global Adaptation and Resilience Investors Working Group (9/18) and the Sustainable Investment Forum (9/19).
  • September 25-27: PRI in Person 2017, Berlin, Germany: Meet with Emilie Mazzacurati to discuss the integration of climate risk in financial markets.
  • September 27-28: Deutsche Asset Management Client Conference (by invitation only), Berlin, Germany: Emilie Mazzacurati will present on Four Twenty Seven’s groundbreaking work on modeling climate risk for public equities.
  • October 10-13: SOCAP 2017, San Francisco, California: Meet with Four Twenty Seven team members to discuss impact investments and adaptation finance.
  • November 7-17: COP23, Bonn, Germany: Join members of the Four Twenty Seven team at side events at the UNFCCC’s 23rd Conference of Parties.

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Delaware’s Climate-Ready Workforce Pilot Project

Changing climate conditions threaten the health and safety of the State of Delaware’s most important assets: its workforce. Building on momentum at the state level to assess climate risks and implement relevant adaptation actions, Four Twenty Seven worked with five state agencies to identify and protect at-risk workers from the impacts of extreme events such as storms, floods, and high temperatures. Based on an evaluation of existing policies, key informant interviews, and surveys, Four Twenty Seven provided recommendations to more explicitly incorporate climate considerations, share agency good practices, and strengthen the fundamentals of current policies and procedures by improving processes for policy development, implementation, and enforcement. The findings from this project will be used to inform state agencies’ consideration of next steps with regard to health, safety and climate change.

Download the summary report

View the Delaware Climate-Ready Workforce Presentation