Bond Buyer Podcast: Facing up to Climate Change

Do bond ratings reflect governments’ and businesses’ exposure to physical climate change?  Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, joins the Bond Buyer’s Chip Barnett to discuss physical climate risk for investors, businesses and governments. Emilie describes the financial sector’s growing awareness of material climate risk in their bond and equity portfolios and shares efforts being taken to understand and address these risk. Chip and Emilie also discuss the challenges cities face when striving to adapt to climate impacts, the benefits of building resilience and the interactions between corporate and community resilience.

For more insight on the interactions between climate change, cities and financial risk read our reports on Assessing Exposure to Climate Risk in U.S. Munis and Assessing Local Adaptive Capacity to Understand Corporate and Financial Climate Risks, or listen to our webinar on Building City-level Climate Resilience.

Four Twenty Seven Wins Climate Change Business Journal Awards

FEBRUARY 19, 2019 – SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – Four Twenty Seven receives Climate Change Business Journal Awards for three climate change risk and resilience projects. 

The Climate Change Business Journal (CCBJ) released its 10th annual CCBJ Business Achievement Awards, recognizing outstanding business performance in the climate change industry. CCBJ assesses markets and business opportunities across the emerging climate change industry and acknowledged Four Twenty Seven’s contributions to this field through our global dataset on climate risk in real estate, the development of the California Heat Assessment Tool and our contribution to the EBRD-GCECA initiative on Advancing TCFD Guidance on Physical Climate Risks and Opportunities.

Four Twenty Seven and GeoPhy earned the Technology Merit: Climate Change Risk Modeling and Assessment award for releasing the first global dataset on climate risk exposure in real estate investment trusts (REITs). REITs represent an increasingly important asset class that provides investors with a vehicle for gaining exposure to real estate portfolios. However, real estate is also increasingly affected by risks from climate change. Four Twenty Seven applied its scoring model of asset-level climate risk exposure to GeoPhy’s database of listed REITs holdings to create the first global, scientific assessment of REITs’ exposure to climate risk.

The California Heat Assessment Tool (CHAT) earned the Project Merit: Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience award for its innovative approach to helping public health officials, health professionals and residents understand what changing heat wave conditions mean for them, through a free online platform. CHAT is part of California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, a state-mandated research program to assess climate change impacts in California, and was developed by Four Twenty Seven, Argos Analytics, the Public Health Institute and Habitat 7 with technical support from the California Department of Public Health.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation initiative on Advancing the TCFD Recommendations on Physical Climate Risks and Opportunities earned the Advancing Best Practices: Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience award. This project culminated in a conference and report building on Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations and providing common foundations for the disclosure of climate-related physical risks and opportunities. It identifies where further research or market action is needed so that detailed, consistent, industry-specific guidelines can be developed on the methodology for quantifying and reporting these risks and opportunities. Four Twenty Seven and Acclimatise provided the technical secretariat that led the working groups and authored the report.

Newsletter: Towards Adaptation Standards

Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month, we release a new report to help corporations and investors understand local adaptive capacity, share initiatives to standardize adaptation and highlight resources on adaptation finance.

In Focus: Assessing Local Adaptive Capacity 

427 Report: Helping Corporations and Investors Understand
Local Adaptive Capacity 

Building resilient communities and financial systems requires an understanding of climate risk exposure, but also of how prepared communities are to manage that risk. From flooded or damaged public infrastructure hindering employee and customer commutes to competition for water resources threatening business operations and urban heat reducing public health, the impacts of climate change on a community will impact the businesses and real estate investors based in that community.

Our newest report describes Four Twenty Seven's framework for assessing adaptive capacity in a way that’s actionable for corporations seeking to understand the risk and resilience of their own facilities and for investors assessing risk in their portfolios or screening potential investments. We create location-specific analysis by focusing on three pillars: 1) awareness, 2) economic and financial characteristics, and 3) the quality of adaptation planning and implementation. This helps the private sector understand their assets' risks and provides an entry-point for collaboration on local resilience-building. 
Read the Report
Towards Adaptation Standards
While climate mitigation has traditionally been the focus of efforts to address climate change, the past few years have seen an increased recognition of adaptation as a critical element of confronting climate change. As efforts grow to understand, quantify and catalyze adaptation investment there is a growing need for standardization and metrics around resilience investments.

EU Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance  

The European Commission's Action Plan on financing sustainable growth lays out a two year timeline for implementation, with a goal to create a taxonomy for climate adaptation finance by the end of 2019. To accomplish this goal, the EU has launched a Technical Expert Group (TEG) on Sustainable Finance and is calling for expert feedback on what actions qualify as adaptation and mitigation.
This will contribute to the ongoing effort to identify investments that build resilience in specific industries. The TEG recently released its preliminary report outlining its current thinking and explaining where it is soliciting feedback. The report shows the current lack of consensus around adaptation metrics and the need to standardize resilience definitions.

Expert Group on Resilient Bond Standards

A parallel initiative by the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) is focused on strategically incorporating adaptation into green bond standards. While green bonds have tended to focus on mitigation to date CBI launched an Adaptation and Resilience Expert Group (AREG) in November, which will develop Adaptation and Resilience Principles for bonds.
These principles will be released for public consultation in June 2019 and will lay the foundation for the development of sector-specific adaptation and resilience criteria. Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, and Strategic Advisor, Josh Sawislak, are members of AREG.
Science Suffers in Government Shutdown
Four Twenty Seven analysts Josh Turner and Colin Gannon attended the American Meteorological Society's annual meeting last week, where the absence of hundreds of federal scientists was sorely felt. Numerous sessions were cancelled or poorly attended, and information sharing was lost in both directions. 
 

 
Most Americans may not feel the shutdown's impacts on a daily basis, but there are long-lasting implications far beyond the lack of conference attendance. While only those employees responsible for "essential services" continue to work with limited pay, data collection for long-term climate studies will be hindered, research on wildfire impacts will be delayed and hurricane model improvements and emergency training aren't progressing as they should. Some federal data sites are not currently accessible and the dearth of economic monitoring means that key data used by investors and policy-makers, like agricultural production numbers, are no longer being reported. 

Despite these obstacles, the private sector is persevering in its efforts to understand and address climate impacts. IBM announced that it will release the world's first hourly-updating, highest-resolution global weather forecasting model later this year and McKinsey just added 121 weather-data variables to its agriculture analytics tool, refining crop yield predictions. This year also promises to see continued growth in publicly hosted data sets, satellite data, and machine learning techniques for climate projections.
Resources for Adaptation Finance

Plugging the Climate Adaptation Gap with High Resilience Benefit Investments

In this report S&P Global Ratings  highlights both the funding gap and the multifaceted benefits of resilience projects. It outlines both challenges and benefits of quantifying benefits of adaptation projects and the barriers to adaptation, providing a small case study on the economic benefits of adapting to sea level rise.  Lastly, the brief report emphasizes the need for private investment to support limited public funding.

Financing Climate Futures: Rethinking Infrastructure

This report outlines a vision for a realigned financial system, prepared for long-term climate risks and opportunities.  The OECD, World Bank and UN Environment explain the dire need to disclose climate-related financial information in infrastructure projects and to invest in low-emission, resilient infrastructure that is both prepared for a changing climate and able to catalyze economic growth. 

Money for Resilient Infrastructure

The ebook Money for Resilient Infrastructure: How to Finance America's Climate Changed Future, explains recent developments in the financial sector's understanding of climate-related risks and highlights the growing demand for resilient infrastructure. Joyce Coffee outlines infrastructure finance options, investment instruments and strategies for obtaining resilience financing. 
Emilie Mazzacurati Named Top 100 in Finance
The Top 100 Magazine includes Founder and CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, in the 2018 Top 100 People in Finance. 

“I’m honored to be recognized by The Top 100 Magazine,” says Emilie.  “We’re pushing the boundaries of how the financial world thinks about climate change, and appreciate the recognition on how our work helps drive the conversation on climate risk.” The Top 100 Magazine writes that while climate data "may seem like a fairly novel niche within the financial sector, the demand for this data has grown exponentially over the past two years... [Four Twenty Seven's] analysis leverages best-in-class climate data at the most granular level, and scores assets based on their precise geographic location. This provides the financial industry with the most comprehensive overview of investment outcomes related to present and future climate changes."

Upcoming Events

Join the Four Twenty Seven team at these upcoming events:

  • January 23 – From Sciences Po to the Economic Risk of Climate Change, San Francisco, CA: Hear Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, speak at this Sciences Po American Foundation event at 6:30pm. Use discount code 427 for a $10 ticket.
  • February 12 – Investing for Impact, New York, NY: Emilie Mazzacurati will present on adaptation as an impact investment opportunity at this annual convening hosted by The Economist.
  • March 20-22 – Climate Leadership Conference, Baltimore, MD: Emilie Mazzacurati will speak about the evolving landscape of climate risk disclosure.
  • April 10-12 – RI Asia Japan, Tokyo, Japan: Chief Development Officer, Frank Freitas, will present on climate analytics for investors and Emilie Mazzacurati will also join this convening.
  • April 13-16  – APA National Planning Conference, San Francisco, CA: Director of Advisory Services, Yoon Kim, and Director of Analytics, Nik Steinberg, will speak on a panel called, "Beyond Vulnerability: Innovative Adaptation Planning."
  • April 23-25 – National Adaptation Forum, Madison, WI: Editor, Natalie Ambrosio, will present on local adaptive capacity from a private sector perspective. 
  • April 29 - May 1  – Ceres Conference 2019, San Francisco, CA: The Four Twenty Seven team will join investors and corporations at this annual gathering.
Twitter
Twitter
LinkedIn
LinkedIn
YouTube
YouTube
Facebook
Facebook
Website
Website
Email
Email
Copyright © 2019 Four Twenty Seven, All rights reserved.
Four Twenty Seven sends a newsletter focused on bringing climate intelligence into economic and financial decision-making for investors, corporations and governments. Fill in the form below to join our mailing list. As data controller, we collect your email address with your consent in order to send you our newsletter. Four Twenty Seven will never share your mailing information with anyone and you may unsubscribe at any moment. Please read our Terms and Conditions.
 

Our mailing address is:
Four Twenty Seven
2000 Hearst Ave
Ste 304
Berkeley, CA 94709

Assessing Local Adaptive Capacity to Understand Corporate and Financial Climate Risks

January 15, 2019 – 427 REPORT. Building resilient communities and financial systems requires an understanding of climate risk exposure, but also of how prepared communities are to manage that risk. Understanding  the adaptive capacity, or ability to prepare for change and leverage opportunities, of the surrounding area can help businesses and investors determine how exposure to climate risk is likely to impact their assets and what the most strategic responses may be. This report outlines Four Twenty Seven’s framework for creating location-specific actionable assessments of adaptive capacity to inform business and investment decisions and catalyze resilience-building. 

Every investment, from real assets to corporate initiatives, is inextricably connected to its surrounding community. From flooded or damaged public infrastructure hindering employee and customer commutes to competition for water resources threatening business operations and urban heat reducing public health, the impacts of climate change on a community will impact the businesses and real estate investors based in that community. Thus, evaluating how acute and chronic physical climate hazards will affect local communities and communities’ responses enables investors and corporations to assess the full extent of the risks they face.

This report, Assessing Local Adaptive Capacity to Understand Corporate and Financial Climate Risks, outlines Four Twenty Seven’s framework for capturing a city’s adaptive capacity in a way that’s actionable for corporations seeking to understand the risk and resilience of their own facilities and for investors assessing risk in their portfolios or screening potential investments. The framework focuses on three main pillars: 1) awareness, 2) economic and financial characteristics, and 3) the quality of adaptation planning and implementation. It is informed by social sciences research, recent work by credit rating agencies, and our experience working directly with cities and investors.

Figure 2. After New York City subways were flooded during Hurricane Sandy, the New York MTA issued a catastrophe bond to obtain $200 million in insurance coverage, providing an important financial safety net for the city. Image from Wikimedia, by Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York used with a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

While a city’s adaptive capacity plays a key role in determining whether or not exposure to climate hazards will lead to damage and loss, cities are also likely to find that their resilience to climate impacts is an increasingly important factor in attracting business and financing, as adaptive capacity is more frequently integrated into credit ratings and screening processes. It is valuable for both cities to understand how investors are interpreting adaptive capacity and for investors to understand which factors of local adaptive capacity translate into increased resilience and reduced financial loss for their assets.

Key Takeaways

  • Corporate and real asset investments can be financially impacted by climate-driven weather events and chronic stresses, even with strong internal risk management systems in place, as climate events can affect the broader community and disrupt local infrastructure.
  • Adaptive capacity, the ability to adjust to potential damage and leverage opportunities, will influence how local jurisdictions and infrastructure are affected by climate-driven weather events.
  • Four Twenty Seven has developed a framework to assess the adaptive capacity of local jurisdictions to inform the private sector, examining a city’s awareness of climate impacts, economic characteristics, and adaptation planning efforts.
  • Understanding a local jurisdiction’s adaptive capacity provides opportunities to engage with decision-makers and relevant institutions to support local efforts to build resilience.

Download the report.

Newsletter: California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment

Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month, don't miss the new California Heat Assessment Tool, funding opportunities for risk mitigation and a preview of resilience events at upcoming conferences!

In Focus: Health-based Heat Projections

Four Twenty Seven tool developed under California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment identifies regions most vulnerable to extreme heat

The California Heat Assessment Tool helps identify neighborhoods with populations vulnerable to heat and overlays projections for heat events likely to cause health impacts. This new research establishes local, health-based thresholds for extreme heat that help public officials, health professionals and residents understand what changing conditions mean for them. The tool can be searched by city, county or zip code and provides data at the census tract level.

Four Twenty Seven developed the tool with funding from the California Natural Resources Agency, in partnership with Argos Analytics, the Public Health Institute and Habitat Seve, and  technical support from the California Department of Public Health.

Access the Tool
California Releases Fourth Climate Change Assessment 

“In California, facts and science still matter,” said Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. “These findings are profoundly serious and will continue to guide us as we confront the apocalyptic threat of irreversible climate change.”

Released yesterday, California's Fourth Climate Change Assessment includes 44 projects advancing actionable science to serve the growing needs of state and local-level decision-makers from a variety of sectors. Explore all technical reports and outputs at www.ClimateAssessment.ca.gov

"State energy officials said the assessment underscores the urgent need not only for swift global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions but also local actions to protect California from warming that’s already threatening people, natural resources and infrastructure." The Los Angeles Times reports.

“We’re seeing that in the fire situation, we’re seeing that in sea level rise, we’re seeing that in heat spells, in declining snowpack,” said California Energy Commission Chairman Robert Weisenmiller. “The climate is changing now so we need to be adapting our communities.”

Four Twenty Seven at GCAS and PRI

Join our GCAS side event on Sept. 11 in San Francisco

Safeguarding local infrastructure, businesses and the economies they support requires an understanding of the interconnected nature of the climate vulnerabilities of communities, businesses and financial institutions.

This affiliate side event, hosted by Four Twenty Seven, will feature investor, business and government thought leaders to discuss cutting edge projects and collaboration to build community and economic resilience. From 8:30-11:30am on Sept. 11 at Arup. 

This is a free invite-only event with limited capacity. Please express interest to be added to the list and we will review and confirm your registration shortly.
Express Interest

Join Four Twenty Seven at other side events on climate resilience

 
Looking for other applicable events? We've compiled a list of resilience-related side events that are pertinent for investors, corporations and communities. Browse our Google Doc, updated on an ongoing basis, to spot the most interesting side events on climate risk and climate science. Email nambrosio@427mt.com if you'd like your event to be included in our curated list.
More Events
Four Twenty Seven at CAF This Week

Join as at the California Adaptation Forum today and tomorrow! Visit our booth and meet with the team at the following panels:

  • Today from 1:05-1:25pm: Senior Data Analyst, Josh Turner, will demo the California Heat Assessment Tool at the Tools Salon.
  • Today from 2:55-4:10pm: Director of Advisory Services, Yoon Kim, will moderate a panel on "Heat Resilient Transit and Cool Streets." 
  • Today from 4:25-5:50pm: Yoon will moderate a panel, "Who Pays? The Implications of Liability, Insurance, And Credit Ratings on Adaptation Finance."
  • Wednesday from 9:30-10:45am: Manager, Advisory Services, Kendall Starkman will moderate a panel, "From Idea to Action: Mobilizing Adaptation Implementation Through Partnerships."
  • Wednesday at 1:30pm: Kendall will speak at the event, "ASAP Members Lead the Transfer of Adaptation Takeaways to GCAS tomorrow at 1:30pm. Editor, Natalie Ambrosio, will speak at the annual in-person ASAP meeting during the second half of this session.
Funding Opportunities to Build Resilience

Several funding opportunities for hazard mitigation projects in California

  • PDM and FMA Funding Opportunities:There is $235,200,000 nationwide for the PDM Program and $160,000,000 nationwide for the FMA Program, which provide funding for the development of local hazard mitigation plans (LHMPs) and implementation of hazard mitigation projects.The Notice of Interest for both grants is due by September 4, 2018. For more information visit Cal OES or email PDFM@caloes.ca.gov. 
  • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) – DR-4382 funding opportunity: HMGP funding is available statewide for any eligible mitigation activity.  Eligible activities also include Climate Resilient Mitigation Actions (CRMAs), such as actions supporting aquifer storage and recovery, flood diversion and storage, floodplain and stream restoration, and green infrastructure methods.  More info forthcoming on Cal OES. Or contact HMGP@caloes.ca.gov for more information. 
Upcoming Events

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

  • September 11 - Building Community and Economic Resilience: San Francisco, CA: Four Twenty Seven will host a side event alongside the Global Climate Action Summit on Sept 11 to discuss the role of investors, businesses and governments in contributing to climate-resilient cities and infrastructure. Express interest.
  • September 12-14 – PRI in Person, San Francisco, CA: Visit the Four Twenty Seven booth and meet with our team at this annual gathering of responsible investment industry leaders. More details above.
  • September 12-14 – Global Climate Action Summit, San Francisco, CA: CEO Emilie Mazzacurati to speak at a session on resilience in this convening of global leaders meant to propel action around the Paris Agreement. More details above.
  • September 24-26 – 2018 Great Lakes Adaptation Forum, Ann Arbor, MI: Director of Advisory Services, Yoon Kim, will join this gathering of practitioners and scholars dedicated to building regional resilience.
  • September 24-30Climate Week NYC, New York, NY: Senior Analyst, Lindsay Ross, will join discussions around physical climate risk and resilience at this annual event. 
  • October 4 – Japan Electronic Trading Conference 2018, Tokyo, Japan: CEO Emilie Mazzacurati will speak about how physical climate risk affects investing strategies at this gathering of the FIX Trading Community. 
  • October 8-11 – ULI Fall Meeting, Boston, MA: Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati to join a panel on assessing climate risk in the real estate industry.
  • October 8-12 – Paris InfraWeek, Paris, France: Director, Europe, Nathalie Borgeaud, will join this discussion of recent developments in infrastructure finance.
  • October 15 - Deutsche Bank ESG Summit, Boston, MA. COO Colin Shaw will join a panel on climate risk in equities. Invitation-only.
  • October 16-18 – Verge 18, Oakland, CA: Yoon Kim will join this convening focused on developing a resilient, green economy.
  • October 23-26 – SOCAP18, San Francisco, CA: Members of the Four Twenty Seven team will participate in the annual Social Capital Markets conference.
  • November 13-15 – International Summit at Greenbuild Conference and Expo, Chicago, IL: Emilie Mazzacurati will provide the luncheon plenary address, "Climate Intelligence: Decision-making in the Age of Climate Change," on Tues Nov. 13.
  • November 16 – Methodologies and Tools to Evaluate the Financial Impact of Climate-related Risks and Opportunities, Milan, Italy: Nathalie Borgeaud will present Four Twenty Seven's methodology to assess physical climate risk in financial portfolios during this workshop.
  • November 26-28 – UNEP FI Global Roundtable & Climate Finance Day, Paris, France: Emilie Mazzacurati and Nathalie Borgeaud will participate in these two evens dedicated to mobilizing the financial sector to create a sustainable financial system.
  • December 3-14 – COP24, Katowice, Poland: Nathalie Borgeaud and Yoon Kim will attend the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and participate in side events.
  • December 5-6 – RI Americas, New York, NY: Emilie Mazzacurati to join a panel on climate risk in real estate markets. Visit the Four Twenty Seven booth.
  • December 10-14 – AGU Fall Meeting, Washington, DC: Director of Analytics, Nik Steinberg, Senior Data Analyst, Josh Turner and Lindsay Ross will join this annual convening of the Earth and space sciences community. 
Twitter
Twitter
LinkedIn
LinkedIn
YouTube
YouTube
Facebook
Facebook
Website
Website
Email
Email
Copyright © 2018 Four Twenty Seven, All rights reserved.
Four Twenty Seven sends a newsletter focused on bringing climate intelligence into economic and financial decision-making for financial institutions, corporations, and government institutions.

Our mailing address is:
Four Twenty Seven
2000 Hearst Ave
Ste 304
Berkeley, CA 94709

The California Heat Assessment Tool

As California’s climate warms, residents increasingly endure extreme heat events that adversely impact public health. This exacerbates existing risks and will bring new challenges for different regions in the state, threatening the efficacy of traditional intervention strategies. Current thresholds for heat alerts are based on temperatures that exceed historical statistical thresholds, rather than temperatures that cause public health impacts. These ‘health-neutral’ thresholds may underestimate the health risks for the most sensitive populations. The new California Heat Assessment Tool (CHAT) is based on research that establishes local, health-based thresholds for extreme heat that help public officials, health professionals and residents understand what changing conditions mean for them. CHAT is part of California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, a state-mandated research program to assess climate change impacts in California, and was developed by Four Twenty Seven, Argos Analytics, the Public Health Institute and Habitat 7 with technical support from the California Department of Public Health.

Explore CHAT at cal-heat.org.  This online tool advances the understanding of what types of heat waves pose public health risks and examines how the frequency and severity of local heat waves are expected to change over time due to climate change.

Read a brief report, The California Heat Assessment Tool: Planning for the Health Impacts of Extreme Heat, that shares key findings from the research and summarizes the data analysis visualized in the tool.

Access the technical report detailing technical methodology and view other projects funded by the California Fourth Climate Change Assessment.

Access the users needs assessment for a detailed explanation of the literature review and interview process that defines the data gap the research team addressed.

Download the full press release.

Key Takeaways

  • Current climate change projections show that a typical California summer in 2100 may be 4-5° F warmer than today. Heat waves are also lasting longer, occurring later into the summer season and in areas less accustomed to heat waves.
  • Elderly or very young people, outdoor workers and individuals with preexisting health conditions or limited resources are most sensitive to the impacts of extreme heat and may be disproportionately affected. Some of these sensitive, or frontline, populations may experience adverse health impacts at temperatures 6-8° F lower than the general population.
  • Current thresholds for heat alerts are based on temperatures that exceed certain statistical thresholds, rather than temperatures that cause public health impacts. These health-neutral thresholds may underestimate the health risks for the most sensitive populations.
  • The online California Heat Assessment Tool (cal-heat.org) allows users to visualize projected changes in heat events that cause adverse health impacts, while also exploring data on social, health and environmental factors that contribute to heat vulnerability.

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.

Twitter
Twitter

LinkedIn
LinkedIn

YouTube
YouTube

Facebook
Facebook

Website
Website

Email
Email

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:
Four Twenty Seven
2000 Hearst Ave
Ste 304
Berkeley, CA 94709Add us to your address bookWant to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

 

 

 

This email was sent to

 

 

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

————————————

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.”

————————————

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.