Newsletter: California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment

Four Twenty Seven Newsletter

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. 
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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

Webinar: Building City-level Climate Resilience

This Four Twenty Seven webinar familiarizes participants with an approach for assessing city-level physical climate risks and provides insight into concrete actions that cities can take to more effectively attract investor financing for climate adaptation and resilience.

Speakers

  1.  Nik Steinberg (Director of Analytics, Four Twenty Seven) provides an overview of Four Twenty Seven’s approach to assessing city-level physical climate risks.
  2. Lisa Schroeer (Senior Director and Sector Leader, S&P Global) speaks about how the ratings agency is incorporating physical climate risks into its view of city and county  credit risk.
  3. Ksenia Koban (Vice President and Municipal Strategist, Payden & Rygel) offers insight into the factors that investors are looking at when determining whether to make city-level climate resilience investments and what cities can do more successfully to attract investor financing for climate adaptation and resilience.

Read Four Twenty Seven’s report on Assessing Exposure to Climate Change in U.S. Munies and learn more about our advisory services for risk assessments, adaptation finance and policy consulting.

Every City Has its Hazards: 427 Interview

Chief Development Officer, Frank Freitas, discusses Four Twenty Seven’s report on Assessing Exposure to Climate Risk in U.S. Municipalities on the Midday Briefing. During this brief interview Frank describes Four Twenty Seven’s work as a data provider for investors, highlights the ubiquity of climate hazards across United States munies and explains the impact of both acute events like hurricanes and more subtlety destructive chronic stresses such as drought.

Newsletter: Advancing TCFD Guidance on Physical Climate Risk & Opportunities

 

 

Four Twenty Seven’s monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month, don’t miss our update on upcoming EU regulations, our analysis on lessons learned from Art. 173 in France, and our conference calendar for the spring!

In Focus: Advancing TCFD Guidance on Physical Climate RIsk and Opportunities

An initiative from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Global Center for Excellence in Climate Adaptation

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation (GCECA) are hosting an event: “Advancing TCFD guidance on physical climate risk and opportunities,” which will be held on 31 May at the EBRD’s headquarters in London. This event will be a forum for senior representatives from the financial and business community to discuss and identify the way forward for the development of metrics for disclosing physical climate risk and opportunities, as well as pointers for integrating physical climate risk considerations in scenario-based decision making by businesses and financial institutions.

In preparation for this event, the EBRD has been hosting working groups focused on advancing and fleshing out the recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure’s (TCFD) final recommendations released for the G20 summit last June. The TCFD recommended the inclusion of metrics on physical climate risk and opportunities in financial disclosures and called for further research and concrete guidance on what the appropriate metrics would be.

The conference will feature the findings from expert working groups that include representatives from Allianz, APG, AON, Bank of England, Barclays, BlackRock, Bloomberg, BNP Paribas, Citi, DNB, Deutsche Asset Management, Lightsmith Group, Lloyds, Meridiam Infrastructure, Moody’s, OECD, S&P Global, Shell, Siemens, Standard Chartered, USS and Zurich AM

Four Twenty Seven provides the technical secretariat for this initiative in partnership with Acclimatise. Learn more about the conference: “Advancing TCFD Guidance on Physical Climate Risk & Opportunities.” 

EU Moves Towards Regulation for Climate Risk Disclosure

EC Releases its Action Plan: Financing Sustainable Growth

Earlier this month the EU laid out a clear plan to move towards mandatory climate risk disclosure as part of a new set of regulations to finance sustainable growth and support the transition to a low-carbon economy. The European Commission’s Action Plan lays out a two year timeline for implementation, with a goal to create a taxonomy for climate adaptation finance by the end of 2019. These regulations from the EU will drive change into financial markets globally and set standards on reporting, disclosures and infrastructure resilience that will likely set the bar for the rest of the world.

The EC based the Action Plan on the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance’s (HLEG) final recommendations for actions to drive the transition to a sustainable financial system. The HLEG was created by the EC in December 2016 to determine how the regulatory landscape should transform to support efforts towards the goals of the Paris agreement and  promote the financing of a sustainable, resource-efficient economy. As the group’s report was eagerly awaited as a blueprint for market transformation in Europe, the EC’s Action Plan is expected to propel that transformation forward while prompting international conversation.

Read the Analysis

Lessons Learned from Article 173 Reporting

How are French investors reporting physical risk?
A Four Twenty Seven analysis

The first year of reporting under Art. 173 in France saw limited uptake of disclosures of physical risk and opportunities. We reviewed disclosures from 50 asset owners in France and found that only a quarter of respondents included substantial analysis and metrics on their exposure to physical impacts of climate change. We find insurance companies AXA and Generali provided the most detailed analysis for property portfolios, while FRR and ERAFP were the only pension funds to provide an initial assessment of physical risk exposure in their equity and fixed income portfolios.

Read the Analysis

More good reads on climate risk disclosures:

Extreme Weather Hurts Corporations

Weather Affects Company Performance

Whether it’s extreme heat diminishing worker productivity, winter storms damaging roads and power lines or one of countless other impacts, extreme weather causes harm to businesses’ facilities, their workers and supply chains, and leads to financial impacts. The World Resources Institute’s recent report, “Water Shortages Cost Indian Energy Companies Billions,” highlights findings that India’s thermal power is so reliant on water for cooling that the largest thermal utilities had to close at least once between 2013-2016 and lost about $1.4 billion in revenue. In the article “5 Things Companies Can Do to Grow in a Water-Stressed World,” Water Deeply describes ways that companies are mitigating their risk by proactively addressing water resource limitations.

Climate-related Risk for Telecommunications

Companies in different sectors will be affected differently by three types of climate risk. Novethic’s article “L’impact des risques climatiques sur les entreprises, le cas d’Orange,” provides direct examples of how physical climate risk, transition risk and reputation/legal risk directly threaten companies. In a discussion of Orange, a telecommunications provider, the article highlights the complex factors that companies must consider in addition to their impact on CO2 emissions. Such considerations include a company’s potential to promote innovations for resilience in society through programs ranging from apps that organize carpooling to smart metering.

Inside the Office at Four Twenty Seven

Meet Guest Researcher, Nora Pankratz

Four Twenty Seven is excited to welcome Nora Pankratz as a guest researcher. Nora is a Ph.D. candidate in Finance at the European Center for Corporate Engagement at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Her research focuses on the impact of extreme temperatures on the financial performance of public firms. For the next several months Nora will be based in Berkeley, working with data collected by Four Twenty Seven to develop a research project on the translation of climate risks into financial risks.

Upcoming Events

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

  • March 19-21: ClimateCon, Asheville, NC: Katy Maher, is at this convening of science and businesses professionals focused on building climate resilience.
  • March 26-27: Financial Risks International Forum, Paris, France: Léonie Chatain, will attend this annual conference on emerging risks in the financial and insurance sectors.
  • April 2:  ICARP TAC Quarterly Meeting, San Francisco, CA: Natalie Ambrosio will participate in the Adaptation Vision Framework workshop hosted by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.
  • April 3-6: Sustainatopia, San Francisco, CA: COO Colin Shaw, will speak on a panel on ESG investing and a panel on climate risk at this annual convening of sustainability and financial experts.
  • April 9Financing Climate Change Adaptation, New York, NY: Founder and CEO Emilie Mazzacurati will participate in a private investor workshop on financing adaptation in US cities, organized by C40, NY City and GARI.
  • April 10-11:  Responsible Investors Asia, Tokyo, Japan: Meet with the Four Twenty Seven team to discuss physical climate risk in equities and infrastructure portfolios.
  • May 17: Sustainable Real Assets Conference, Washington, DC: Founder and CEO Emilie Mazzacurati will keynote GRESB’s annual conference on infrastructure resilience.
  • May 31: Advancing TCFD Guidance on Physical Climate Risk and Opportunities, London, UK: Four Twenty Seven is a strategic partner for this event hosted by EBRD and GCECA to discuss emerging guidance on metrics for physical climate risk disclosures and scenario analysis.
  • June 5-6: Responsible Investors Europe, London, UK: Meet with the Four Twenty Seven team to discuss ratings and engagement on physical climate risk in equities.
  • June 18-21: Adaptation Futures 2018, Cape Town, South Africa: Director of Advisory Services, Yoon Kim, will facilitate a session exploring integrating climate risks into infrastructure investment decisions.
  • August 28-293rd 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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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 Fortune 500 companies, investors, and government institutions.Our mailing address is:
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Art. 173: Lessons Learned from Climate Risk Disclosures in France

March 21, 2018 – 427 ANALYSIS. The first year of reporting under Art. 173 in France saw limited uptake of disclosures of physical risk and opportunities. Our review of disclosures from 50 asset owners in France shows only a quarter of respondents included substantial analysis and metrics on their exposure to physical impacts of climate change. We find insurance companies AXA and Generali provided the most detailed analysis for property portfolio, while FRR and ERAFP were the only pension funds to provide an initial assessment of physical risk exposure in their equity and fixed income portfolios.

Art. 173: the world’s first legal requirement to disclose climate risk

Article 173  of the French Law on Energy Transition and Green Growth passed August 2015 requires major institutional investors and asset management companies to explain how they take Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria into account in their risk management and investment policies. These institutions are also asked to report on the impacts of both physical risks and ‘transition’ risks caused by climate change on their activities and assets.

The law applies to French companies, meaning that French subsidiaries of large financial groups are potentially subject to requirements that do not apply to their parent companies. Its implementing decree invites these organizations to establish scenarios and models to take into account climate risks impacts on the value of their portfolios.

Article 173 covers publicly traded companies, banks and credit providers, asset managers and institutional investors (insurers, pension or mutual funds and sovereign wealth funds). In addition, asset managers managing funds above 500 M€ and institutional investors with balance sheets above 500 M€ are subject to extended climate change-related reporting obligations, including both physical impacts of climate change and transition risks (impact of the transition to a low-carbon economy).

The inclusion of physical impacts of climate change in financial risk analysis is in line with the industry-led Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations report, released in July 2017.

What did financial institutions report?

We conducted a desktop analysis of the 2017 reports (applying to 2016 portfolios) to understand how financial institutions responded to the requirements laid out by Art. 173 in the first compliance year. We reviewed 50 asset owners in France, including public pension funds, sovereign wealth fund and insurance companies, with an aggregate €5.5 trillion euro ($6.8tn) under management. Our analysis included all the public entities covered by the Article 173, as well as private insurers with asset under management above €2bn. Insurance companies play a particularly important role as asset owners in France, where individual savings are massively invested in life insurance savings products. French pension funds, on the other hand, are relatively small due to France’s pay-as-you-go retirement system.

We were able to find Art. 173 reports for 36 out of 50 organizations. It is possible that, in spite of our best efforts, we failed to locate reports. However, Art. 173 has a ‘comply or explain’ provision which also makes it acceptable not to publish a report if one can justify climate change is not a material risk.

Among the Art. 173 reports, we found 29 from insurance companies and seven from public entities. Among them, 20 organizations (40%) discussed only their carbon footprint and/or their exposure to energy transition risk, without including physical risk disclosures.

A small group of organizations (8%) mentioned physical risk as a topic they were exploring but not yet able to report on. Most of them emphasized the lack of tools and models as a major impediment to reporting physical risk.

All in all, we found 12 financial institutions (24%) of the institutions under review made an explicit attempt to disclose their exposure to physical climate risk.

We broke down this latter group in three categories. Eight companies (16%) provided an analysis of the physical risks threatening either their operations or property portfolios (for insurance), ranging in scope from a few buildings to €15bn worth of assets in the case of AXA. Most of the reports contain limited details on methodology and findings.

Two companies (4%) performed what we call a “top-down” analysis, working with investment advisor Mercer to perform a multi-asset class, sector-level analysis of climate risk using Mercer’s proprietary climate risk model, which blends transition and physical risk. Finally, two high profile investors, pension fund ERAFP and sovereign wealth fund FRR, included an initial assessment of climate risk in their equity and fixed income portfolios, at the asset level.

 

 

Table 1 presents a detailed breakdown of how those organizations take physical climate risks into account:

 Case Studies: How do Investors Report on Physical Risk?

AXA

The best student in this 2016 reporting vintage is AXA France. AXA received the “International Award on Investor Climate-Related Disclosures” from the French Ministry for the Environment, for analyzing 15 billion euro of assets (real estate and infrastructures). The analysis takes into account most frequent European natural disasters and the geographical location of each individual asset as well as the destruction rate of their building materials. They found out that, over 30 years, the accumulated loss would aggregate to 24 million euro. The insurance company also reported that if a centennial storm was to occur, the portfolio would be impacted by a 15.2 million euro loss. While AXA provides some of the most detailed analysis,  it also noted that “this new kind of analysis needs to be improved in order to take into account more natural disasters and other portfolios”.

The following graphs demonstrate the physical risk exposure to windstorms for the analyzed infrastructures. On the left, the graph displays the annual average destruction rate, which is linked to the average loss generated by windstorms every year (0.8M€ on average). The map on the right shows the destruction rates due to a 100-year event, with an estimated loss of 15.2M€.

Source (Award on Investor Climate-related Disclosures, AXA Group, October 2016: https://cdn.axa.com/www-axa-com%2Fcb46e9f7-8b1d-4418-a8a7-a68fba088db8_axa_investor_climate_report.pdf)

Generali

Generali France also provided a complete and detailed evaluation of the potential impact of physical risks on their property assets. They analyzed 112 assets, mainly in the Paris Area, accounting for 60% of their owned assets. Generali took into account two kinds of physical risks, flood and drought, to rate their assets from “high” to “very low” risk. Regarding drought, 3 assets enter the medium-risk category. As only 12 assets have been analyzed (Paris and the overseas departments being excluded), this risk is important as it accounts for 25% of their analysis. On the other hand, 10 out of 112 buildings owned by Generali France are exposed to a high risk of flood. They are mainly located in the Paris Area and would be heavily affected by a Seine flood.

To sum up, both AXA and Generali reports are valuable examples of emerging best practices as they show the willingness of those organizations to take physical risks into account in their reporting practice. However, their analyses would benefit from being extended to a broader portfolio and to other natural events.

FRR

In November 2017 the French pension fund, “Fonds de Réserve pour les Retraites” (FRR), released a report addressing Article 173 requirements. Four Twenty Seven performed the analysis, and applied its proprietary methodology to measure the types and levels of climate risk embedded in FRR holdings. Portfolio exposure was evaluated according to their respective industry and sector. The analysis produced a sector risk score based on three indicators:

  • the sector’s supply chains’ geography ;
  • its dependency on climate-sensitive natural resources inputs ;
  • its sensitivity to weather variability.

This hotspot analysis gave FRR tools to get an initial understanding of its portfolios’ exposure. It highlighted strongly exposed sectors such as Materials and Consumer Staples, due to their dependency on natural resources, and Pharmaceuticals and Electronics hardware, due to their complex and global supply chains. Conversely, the results brought out the low exposure of service-based industries such as Media and Telecommunication.

Conclusion

Reporting on physical climate risk is a challenging task for financial institutions – many organizations lack the tools, models and data to perform a comprehensive assessment of their portfolios, whether they’re composed of real assets or equities. As TCFD reporting becomes standard for financial institutions and corporations, pressure will increase to report on physical risk. We expect fast changes in disclosures in this regard, starting as early as the 2018 reporting season.

This analysis was written with support from Thomas Poloniato.

Four Twenty Seven’s ever-growing database now includes close to one million corporate sites and covers over 1800 publicly-traded companies. We offer equity risk scoring and real asset screening services to help investors and corporations leverage this data.

EU Moves Towards Regulation for Climate Risk Disclosure

From Recommendations to Action 

March 15, 2018 – 427 ANALYSIS. The EU laid out a clear plan to move towards mandatory climate risk disclosure as part of a new set of regulations to finance sustainable growth and support the transition to a low-carbon economy. The European Commission’s Action Plan lays out a two year timeline for implementation, with a goal to create a taxonomy for climate adaptation finance by the end of 2019. These regulations from the EU will drive change into financial markets globally and set standards on reporting, disclosures and infrastructure resilience that will likely set the bar for the rest of the world.

The European Commission recently released its Action Plan: Financing Sustainable Growth to establish a regulatory framework that supports the goals of the Paris agreement. The Action Plan calls for transformation of the whole financial system and  to enable the financing a sustainable, resource-efficient economy.

The Action Plan builds on the recommendation from a high profile expert group, the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (HLEG), which was created by the European Commission in December 2016.   The group included experts from banking, insurance, asset management and stock exchanges. Its final recommendations to the Commission, released in January  acknowledged the responsibility of the financial system to drive change towards “enduring and inclusive economic prosperity”. HLEG recommendations aimed to both promote sustainable investments, so that capital reaches sustainable projects and also to ensure that the financial system itself addresses risk and builds resilience.

Incorporating many of the  recommendations of the HLEG, the Commission’s Action Plan lays out ten specific actions, setting deadlines within the next two years, with a number of thematic sub-actions that willbe pursued simultaneously.  Action 1  lays the groundwork for many of the following actions as it will establish a Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, with the responsibility of drafting a standardized EU sustainability taxonomy , including climate mitigation by Q1 2019 and adaptation by Q3. This effort will be supported by legislation this year that mandates the creation of the taxonomy.

The 10 actions are summarized in this infographic from the European Commission:

Mandating Disclosure

Of most immediate importance to investors is Action 7, which calls for the proposal by Q2 2018 of legislation mandating investors to explicitly consider sustainability factors in their investment decisions and disclose their methodology of doing so. This effort is particularly focused on improving the consistency and transparency of climate risk considerations by investors.

Likewise, Action 9 is focused on improving the methodologies and practice of corporate risk disclosure. The Commission will publish a report on current reporting legislation by Q2 this year, which will inform a revision of corporate reporting guidelines to help them align with the TCFD recommendations, by Q2 2019. Later this year the Commission will develop a European Corporate Reporting Lab, under the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group, to help develop best practices for corporate reporting. The goals of Action 10 will support these actions by supporting a shift in corporate governance. It aims to improve transparency and combat long-termism, by engaging with stakeholders around corporate governance starting by Q2 next year.

Revamping Credit Ratings

The Commission also commits to revamping the ways in which credit ratings incorporate sustainability metrics into their scoring. Through Action 6, the European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA) will examine the credit ratings’ current practices around this topic by Q2 2019 and the Commission will pursue comprehensive research on reporting standards, exploring the potential of mandating agencies to integrate specific sustainability metrics into their standards.

Client Clarity

To improve consumers ability to identify sustainable investments, Action 2 calls for the technical expert group to publish a report exploring green bond standards by Q2 2019 and the Commission will consider expanding the EU Ecolabel to include financial products, initially focusing on retail investments. Likewise, Action 4 says that by Q2 2018, the MiFID II and IDD rules will be updated to ensure that sustainability preferences are considered when banks, investment firms and insurers offer accounts to clients and by the end of the year the ESMA will include these provisions in their guidelines. Through Action 5 the Commission will adopt acts that improve the transparency of sustainability benchmarks by Q2 2018.

 Comprehensive Sustainability Support

The Commission identifies a lack of technical expertise as a challenge to pursuing sustainable infrastructure projects and aims to confront this by to increasing the technical support available to investors.  It will run a pilot project offering tools for sustainable infrastructure projects, from 2019-2023 through Action 3.

Action 8 states that the Commission will consider including sustainability frameworks in prudential requirements, looping in the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA).

“A Blueprint” for Change

While the HLEG emphasized that its report is only the beginning of an enduring effort to create a resilient financial system that supports a sustainable society, the Commission’s resulting Action Plan clearly defines the next steps. And as HLEG also emphasized its report’s relevance for financial sectors worldwide, the Commission’s Action Plan states that a “coordinated, global effort is crucial.”  As “the HLEG hopes to stimulate a wide public debate that helps shift Europe’s financial system from post-crisis stabilization to supporting long-term growth,” that same widespread conversation is essential to driving global change. These regulations from the EU, as is often the case, will drive change into financial markets globally by setting new standards global financial institutions must meet.

Download the HLEG Recommendations.

Download the EC Action Plan

For more resources on building a sustainable financial sector, read about Four Twenty Seven’s work providing the technical secretariat for an EBRD and GCECA initiative to build a resilient financial sector and download the GARI Investor Guide to Physical Climate Risk and Resilience.

EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance

Reaching the goals of the Paris agreement, and financing a sustainable, resource-efficient economy, requires a transformation of the whole financial system. Understanding that private-sector investments must be joined by a transformation of the regulatory landscape, the European Commission created the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (HLEG) in December 2016. As the need for reform spans across all facets of the sector, HLEG members include experts from banking, insurance, asset management, stock exchanges and others. The group acknowledges that a sustainable society depends upon enduring and inclusive economic prosperity and that the financial system has a responsibility to drive change towards this sustainability. Thus, the HLEG aims to both promote sustainable investments, so that capital reaches sustainable projects and also to ensure that the financial system itself addresses risk and builds resilience.

After releasing an interim report and soliciting public feedback in July, the HLEG released its final recommendations for actions  to facilitate this financial system reform. The report describes a set of priority recommendations and a set of “cross-cutting recommendations.” The former include developing an EU sustainability taxonomy, pushing investors to focus on ESG factors and consider broader time horizons,  creating European sustainability standards for green bonds and other financing options, identifying investment needs by focusing first on climate mitigation, providing sustainable finance options for retail investors, and integrating sustainability into both the governance and financial oversight of financial institutions. The “cross-cutting” recommendations include embracing long-term vision, empowering citizens to shape a sustainable financial sector, monitoring sustainable investment and delivery, integrating a “Think Sustainability First” outlook throughout EU policy, and promoting global sustainable finance.

HLEG acknowledges that there are other social and environmental issues that must be addressed alongside climate change.  Emphasizing that this report is only the beginning of an enduring effort to create a resilient financial system that supports a sustainable society, HLEG also states the report’s relevance for financial sectors worldwide. As “the HLEG hopes to stimulate a wide public debate that helps shift Europe’s financial system from post-crisis stabilization to supporting long-term growth,” that same widespread conversation is essential to driving global change.

Download the Recommendations.

For more resources on building a sustainable financial sector, read about Four Twenty Seven’s work providing the technical secretariat for an EBRD and GCECA initiative to build a resilient financial sector and download the GARI Investor Guide to Physical Climate Risk and Resilience.

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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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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Newsletter: Commitments.

 

 

Four Twenty Seven’s monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate adaptation and resilience. This month don’t miss a recap on critical developments from events on climate finance in France and the climate risk report by French pension fund FRR!

From the desk of Emilie

The One Planet Summit organized by President Macron on December 12 to mark the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement offered a stark reminder of how little progress has been made towards altering the course of runaway emissions globally. In Macron’s words: we’re losing the battle. Every day, new scientific research demonstrates that sea level rise and ice melt will reshape the planet in ways humans have never experienced before. Every day, news breaks of storms, floods, or wildfires that break historical records and devastate lives and livelihoods globally. And global emissions are on the rise again.

Yet the One Planet Summit, and the preceding Climate Finance Day, was also an inspiring display of commitments and signaled a shift in how global financial institutions apprehend climate change. Over the course of the past few years, climate change has gone from a marginal topic to a boardroom concern. The reality is just starting to settle in that a 2-degree world will bring massive disruption to the earth’s meteorological system, and that economic actors need to understand the implications of these massive changes on the global economy, on assets and corporate value chains, and on financial markets.Some of the most striking commitments announced on December 12 include:

  1. Funding for climate adaptation: $3 billion of public-private partnership money to rebuild the Carribean, $650 million from the Gates foundation and other philanthropic institutions to support small-holder farmer adaptation, $300 million into the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund to restore deserted land, and more. While these amounts fall well short of the hundreds of billions of dollars needed for adaptation, they send a signal that adaptation is starting to rise on the agenda.
  2. Integration of climate change into business and financial decisions: Over two hundred companies publicly announced their support for the TCFD recommendations. France and Sweden committed to implementing regulation to support TCFD reporting. The TCFD also announced a Knowledge Hub, hosted by the Climate Disclosure Standard Board (CDSB) in London, to help disseminate best practices and guidance on climate risk disclosures. Last but not least, eight of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, worth $15 trillions in assets, committed to working together to integrate climate considerations into investment decisions.
  3. Taking the full measure of risk: French Central Bank Governor François Villeroy de Galhau announced a new network of eight central banks committed to reinforcing green finance and understanding the risk from climate change on the financial system, emphasizing that “climate stability is, in the long run, part of the determinants of financial stability.”

These commitments, and the more quiet effort of many companies and investors to start mapping risk in their portfolio, point to a larger change in how the market views climate change risk, and signals that adaptation and resilience are going to rise on the agenda for both the public and private sector over the coming years. In this context, Four Twenty Seven’s mission becomes even more critical. Our work enables investors and corporations to integrate climate analytics into business and policy decisions – a critical step to catalyze climate adaptation and resilience investments.

Our commitment for 2018 is to work tirelessly to improve the transparency and quantification of climate risk in financial markets, and to support responsible corporate adaptation and opportunities for public and private institutions to work together to build resilience in the global economy and for the most vulnerable communities.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season,

Emilie and the Four Twenty Seven team

In Focus: French pension fund FRR’s climate risk disclosures under Art. 173

France has been heralded as a global leader on climate risk disclosure with the passage of the Energy Transition Law, in which Article 173 mandates financial institutions to disclose their exposure to both transition and physical climate risk. Pension fund Fonds de Réserve pour les Retraites (FRR) responded to this legislation with an extensive report on the risks that climate change poses for its portfolios. Four Twenty Seven contributed the analysis of physical risk, conducting a sector analysis of FRR’s portfolios to identify exposure to physical climate risk by sector.

Four Twenty Seven opens Paris office, joins flagship initiative Finance for Tomorrow

Four Twenty Seven is proud to announce its new office in Paris and to join  Finance for Tomorrow, the flagship initiative from Paris Europlace to promote France as a world leader in green finance. Four Twenty Seven is one of the first 50 members of this new French initiative, which promoted 50 ClimActs from its members during Climate Finance Day. Finance for Tomorrow’s scope of work includes promoting financial risk disclosures, continuing France’s momentum on climate risk reporting.

Our European office is now opened in Paris, France:

427 France SAS
2, rue du Helder
75009 Paris, France
Tel: (+33).09.75.18.97.12

GARI releases Investor Guide

The Global Adaptation & Resilience Investment Working Group (GARI) released its Investor Guide to Physical Climate Risk and Resilience yesterday. Serving as a simple introduction to physical climate risk, the guide emphasizes ways that investors can face risks and seize opportunities posed by climate change. It highlights three ways to do so: investigate the physical impacts of climate change on asset values, require asset managers and advisors to consider climate risk and allocate capital to climate-resilient investment. Four Twenty Seven CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati was a lead author on the Investor Guide.

Upcoming Events

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

  • January 7-11: AMS Annual Meeting, Austin, TX: Climate Data Analyst Josh Turner will attend this yearly meeting of the weather, water and climate community.
  • January 23-25: NCSE 18th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment, Washington, DC: Director of Advisory Services, Yoon Kim, will attend this conference on The Science, Business, and Education of Sustainable Infrastructure, to facilitate a session exploring how infrastructure banks and other investors can integrate climate risks in investment decision-making.
  • February 28-March 2: 2018 Climate Leadership Conference, Denver, CO: Meet with Senior Analyst Kendall Starkman at this annual milestone on climate leadership for U.S. corporations and cities.

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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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Berkeley, CA 94709Add us to your address bookWant to change how you receive these emails?
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