Newsletter: The Impacts of “Global Weirding”

Four Twenty Seven, an affiliate of Moody's, sends a monthly newsletter highlighting recent developments in climate risk and resilience. 

In Focus: Deadly Winter Storm in Texas

Devastating Extremes Highlight the Need for Equitable Resilience

 

In the massive disaster still unfolding in Texas after temperatures have returned to average, dozens were killed and many more are still suffering with lack of clean drinking water, home repairs from burst frozen pipes, and exorbitant energy bills, among other challenges. While scientists are still exploring the connection between a warming Arctic and frigid conditions spreading south, the scientific community agrees that climate change will bring more extreme conditions. The widespread power outages in Texas underscore the dire need to implement a diverse set of adaptation measures to prepare for a range of extreme events, including heat waves and storms. Weatherization of power plants and energy infrastructure, alongside improvements to home insulation can help prepare for extreme temperatures on either end of the spectrum.

This disaster also underscores the disproportionate impacts of extreme events on low-income residents and people of color, who are less likely to have backup generators or disposable income and more likely to lose critical wages from missing shifts during the storm. Likewise, in Texas, residents that shared energy circuits with critical facilities such as hospitals often kept their power during the storm, but these facilities are not usually in Black and Hispanic communities. These challenges aren't unique to Texas. In Louisiana, residents still homeless or suffering from two hurricanes last fall were also hit by extreme cold, facing yet another challenge to their survival, and there are similar stories after disasters across the country.

Earlier this month the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission did announce plans to create a senior position focused on environmental justice and equity, which could be a small step toward including these critical issues in decision-making about national energy infrastructure. Meanwhile, the New York State Department of Financial Services took an important step by announcing plans to incentivize climate resilience investment in low-to-moderate income communities.
Financial Regulators Act on Climate

Ongoing Efforts to Address the Financial Risks of Climate Change

Central banks and financial regulators around the world continue to announce developments in their plans to address climate risk. This month the E.U. made additional progress, while the US began to make up for lost time. The UK also released a consultation on its updated draft climate risk disclosure legislation for pensions based on last fall's consultation responses.

The Eurosystem's 19 central banks, as well as the European Central Bank committed to releasing TCFD-aligned climate risk disclosures for their investment portfolios within the next two years. Meanwhile, the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Growth consulted on updates to its landmark climate risk disclosure law, Article 173. The draft guidance provides more concrete recommendations around forward-looking disclosures for climate and biodiversity related risks including scenario analysis and financial metrics.

Earlier this month the San Francisco Federal Reserve published an Economic Letter explaining its approaches to climate-related risks relating to supervision and regulation as well as financial stability. It outlined recent global efforts to address this risk and explained the Fed's own approach, emphasizing the value of scenario analysis for individual financial institutions and of stress tests as a tool for assessing potential climate impacts on the financial system more broadly. Meanwhile, Treasury Security Yellen has established a new Treasury climate "hub," and is currently seeking to find its leader. The likely candidate, Sarah Bloom Raskin, has served both as a deputy Treasury secretary and on the Federal Reserve Board.
Every Region Has its Climate Risks

The New York Times on Global Populations' Exposure to Climate Hazards, Featuring Four Twenty Seven Data

Every region has its own set of climate risk exposures and how this risk creates adverse impacts depends upon the population and economic activity exposed, as well as any climate adaptation measures in place. Based on Four Twenty Seven's data about 90% of the global population will be exposed to at least one climate hazard by 2040, and the New York Times' interactive story brings these findings to life, with additional context about each region.

Climate Risk by Community Type in the US

In the US there is a growing field of research exploring the overlay between community characteristics and their exposure to climate hazards. From demographics and resources to economic composition, many factors influence communities' vulnerability to climate hazards and their ability to prepare. The American Communities Project explores how climate hazards in the US correspond to different community types, leveraging Four Twenty Seven's data. The analysis highlights the significant exposure to sea level rise in "Military Posts," and exposure to extreme rainfall in "Working Class County" and "Middle Suburbs," as well as several other key findings and the potential implications of these exposure trends.
Climate Change & Sustainability Resources for Investors

Climate Opportunities and Risks in an Altered Investment Landscape

In this year's Megatrends report, Weathering Climate Change, PGIM provides a deep dive into the many ways climate risk can affect institutional investors, including a briefer on the climate science, an investor survey and a discussion of ways to integrate climate change into investment decision-making. It highlights risks and opportunities across asset classes, including fixed income, equities, real estate and infrastructure, and explores portfolio implications, with analysis from Four Twenty Seven.

Sustainable Bond Insights 2021

This year's Sustainable Bond Insights compiled by Environmental Finance, provides a review of 2020's green and sustainable bond issuance and looks forward to the year ahead. Moody's ESG Solutions and Moody's Investors Service contributed a chapter highlighting three trends to watch this year: increased issuance by governments and agencies; the rise of sustainability-linked financing; and climate risk and resilience in the bond market. 
We're Hiring! Join Moody's ESG Solutions
There are several opportunities to join Moody's ESG Solutions dynamic team. See the open positions below and visit Moody's Careers page for more information.
Upcoming Events

Join the team online at these upcoming events and check our Events page for updates:

  • Mar. 4 –  Climate Change and Your Business: A Conversation with Emilie Mazzacurati: Global Head of Moody’s Climate Solutions and Founder & CEO of Four Twenty Seven, Emilie Mazzacurati, will present on the business risks of climate change.
  • Mar. 10 Environmental Social Justice Webcast: Director, Communications, Natalie Ambrosio Preudhomme, will discuss opportunities to leverage climate risk analytics to build corporate and community resilience.
  • Mar. 22-25 Ceres 2021: Emilie Mazzacurati will speak on the panel "The New Materiality of Climate Science and What it Means for Investors and Companies."
  • Apr. 14-16 – The Eurofi High Level Seminar: Emilie Mazzacurati will present on the panel "Climate Risk Implications for the EU Financial Sector."
  • Sept 22 2021 CARE Sustainability Conference: Natalie Ambrosio Preudhomme will present on financial climate risk analytics during the panel "Implementation Issues."
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