Newsletter: The US prioritizes climate change

Four Twenty Seven, an affiliate of Moody's, sends a monthly newsletter highlighting recent developments in climate risk and resilience. This month we discuss the Biden Administration's climate policy, share new climate change records and include recent books on climate risk in the financial sector. 

In Focus: Climate Risk a Priority in the US

First Week Signals Biden Administration's Commitment to Climate Action 

The Biden Administration has named climate changes as one of four top priorities, alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, racial justice and the economic crisis. Beyond rejoining the Paris Agreement, several of Biden's executive orders in his first week in office relate directly to climate, while others have significant implications for the environment. For example, in an executive order on public health and the environmental, federal agencies are mandated to comply with Obama-era regulations prioritizing climate change adaptation and resilience rolled back by Trump. Further, one of his first executive orders stated that regulatory reviews should promote concerns such as public health, environmental stewardship, racial justice and the interests of future generations rather than focusing on a cost-benefit analysis, which typically fails to fully recognize non-economic  benefits. There have been several key climate appointments and climate has emerged as a critical issue across many agencies, so this will remain a space to watch in the coming months.

The US Financial Regulators Begin to Move on Climate

On Monday the Senate approved Janet Yellen for treasury secretary, after she committed last Tuesday that the Treasury would examine the financial risks of climate change and appoint a senior official to lead climate initiatives. Meanwhile, this week the Federal Reserve announced a climate committee with a mission to "assess the implications of climate change for the financial system — including firms, infrastructure and markets in general." The central bank has slowly been increasing its participation in the dialogue on climate risk and this step signals that it may be starting to truly prioritize the issue.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks, issued a Request for Input on climate risk for its regulated entities. The consultation asks about identifying climate risks and about options to integrate climate risk management into the FHFA's regulatory framework. Respond by April 19.
Climate Records Broken Repeatedly
There was a record 50 billion-dollar extreme weather events endured globally in 2020, with a total of $268 billion in total economic losses according to Aon. While the most costly disaster last year was the summer monsoon flooding in China, causing $35 billion in damage, the majority of the damage from extreme weather was in the US.

It's thus fitting that this past year also ties with 2016 for the hottest year on record, even during a La Niña event, which is a phase in the global climate cycle that typically leads to cooler years. The seven years we just experienced are the seven warmest years on record.

Meanwhile, scientists continue to increase our understanding of glacier dynamics and the implications for global sea level rise. A paper published on Monday found that global sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets are melting 57% faster than they were three decades ago.
Physical Climate Risk for Sovereigns

Four Twenty Seven Analysis: Over 25% of the world's population in 2040 could be exposed to severe heat stress and 57% of the economy could be exposed to flooding 

More frequent and severe extreme events driven by climate change pose a significant threat to populations and economies around the world and understanding who and what is exposed to climate hazards is essential to pricing this risk and preparing for its impacts. Four Twenty Seven's report, Measuring What Matters: A New Approach to Assessing Sovereign Climate Risk, builds on new analytics assessing sovereign exposure to floods, heat stress, hurricanes and typhoons, sea level rise, wildfires, and water stress based on the only known global dataset matching physical climate risk exposure to locations of population, GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) and agricultural areas within countries. 
Read the Analysis
The Latest Books on Climate Risk & Sustainable Finance 

Values at Work: Sustainable Investing and ESG Reporting,

This recent book highlights the latest research on sustainability topics of growing interest to investors, including climate change, pollution, diversity, governance, economic inequality and others. Four Twenty Seven wrote a chapter titled “Asset-Level Physical Climate Risk Disclosure.” The chapter discusses the need for consistent, comparable metrics for physical risk disclosure, using the pharmaceutical sector as a case study to examine climate risk disclosure versus climate risk exposure. 

Carbon Risk and Green Finance

This new book provides a comprehensive primer on both physical and transition climate risks as financial risks. It covers the emergence of reporting frameworks and mandatory disclosure laws in recent years. The latter portion examines the datasets and approaches that can be leveraged to assess and report climate risk, including emerging topics such as climae stress testing and scenario analysis, citing Four Twenty Seven.
Climate Change, Real Estate and
the Bottom Line

Webinar Recording

How will climate hazards like sea level rise and flooding affect real estate and how is the industry preparing? In this webinar in the Goodwin and MIT Center for Real Estate series, The Path to Tomorrow, Global Head of Climate Solutions at Moody's and Founder & CEO of Four Twenty Seven, Emilie Mazzacurati, joins insurance and finance professionals to discuss climate risk for real estate developers, investors and owners.
What the Recording
Upcoming Events

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