How are banks, investors and financial regulators addressing climate risk? Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, joins Molly Wood in the Marketplace Tech podcast series, “How We Survive,” to discuss climate risk assessment and risk mitigation. The conversation covers regulatory developments, increased transparency on climate risks, resilience investment and the impact of COVID-19 on climate change conversations.
In this keynote presentation during Risk Australia Virtual 2020, Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, discusses “Taming the Green Swan: Incorporating Climate Risk into Risk Management.” She covers changes in the regulatory environment and how investors can use science to inform risk management and investment decisions. Emilie discusses progress made on climate risk disclosure to date, explains the latest thinking on conducting scenario analysis for climate risks and provides case studies of the economic impacts of climate risk in Asia and Australia.
The Investor Guide to Physical Climate Risk and Resilience, published by the Global Adaptation and Resilience Investor (GARI) working group, provides a “plain language” introduction for investors to physical climate risk and resilience. It describes physical climate risk and resilience, explains why it matters to investors, and suggests practical actions investors can take.
Specifically, the guide suggests investors can manage the physical effects of climate change on investments, and seize climate-resilience investment opportunities in three ways: investigating the physical impacts of climate change on asset values, requiring asset managers and advisors to consider climate risk, and allocating capital to climate-resilient investment.
As evidence of climate change’s impact on all asset classes mounts, investors should consider starting to understand, assess, and mitigate their climate risk exposure. The time has come to address climate risk.
Download the GARI 2017 Investor Guide
Read the press release:
‘TIME HAS COME’ TO ADDRESS CLIMATE RISK, SAY GLOBAL INVESTORS AT PARIS SUMMIT
PRACTICAL INVESTOR GUIDE TO PHYSICAL CLIMATE RISK AND RESILIENCE PUBLISHED BY GLOBAL ADAPTATION & RESILIENCE INVESTMENT WORKING GROUP AT ONE PLANET SUMMIT IN PARIS
Paris, France – December 12, 2017: The “time has come” for investors to address climate risk, concludes the Investor Guide to Physical Climate Risk and Resilience released today by the Global Adaptation & Resilience Investment Working Group (GARI) at the One Planet Summit in Paris, France, where nations of the world are meeting to advance the aims and ambitions of the Paris Agreement. The summit is being hosted by the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres.
The GARI Investor Guide provides a “plain language” introduction for investors to physical climate risk and resilience. It describes physical climate risk and resilience, explains why it matters to investors, and suggests practical actions investors can take. Specifically, it suggests investors can manage the physical effects of climate change on investments, and seize climate-resilience investment opportunities in three ways: investigating the physical impacts of climate change on asset values, requiring asset managers and advisors to consider climate risk, and allocating capital to climate-resilient investment.
“We believe the time is now for investors to consider both physical climate risk as well as the opportunity to invest in climate resilience,” said Jay Koh, Managing Director of The Lightsmith Group, Chair of GARI, and a lead author of the GARI Investor Guide. “The investment risks and opportunities created by climate change are immediate and increasing.”
“Leading investors have started using practical tools today to screen and assess their equity, credit, and real asset portfolios for physical climate risk,” stated Emilie Mazzacurati, CEO of Four Twenty Seven and another lead author of the GARI Investor Guide. “There’s no need to wait to understand the impacts of climate change on financial markets.”
“Understanding physical climate risk can guide investors’ decisions today, both to reduce exposure to risk and seize climate resilience investment opportunities,” concluded Chiara Trabacchi, Climate Finance Specialist at IDB Invest, and the third lead author of the GARI Investor Guide. “The Investor Guide is a tool for investors that want to anticipate the risk – rather than experience it – and to deliver long-term value.”
ABOUT THE GLOBAL ADAPTATION & RESILIENCE INVESTMENT WORKING GROUP (GARI)
The Global Adaptation & Resilience Investment Working Group (GARI) is a private investor-led initiative announced at COP21, the global climate summit in Paris in 2015. GARI is a partner of the UN Secretary General’s A2R Climate Resilience Initiative. GARI has brought together over 150 private and public investors, bankers, leaders and other stakeholders to discuss critical issues at the intersection of climate adaptation and resilience and investment with the objective of helping to assess, mobilize and catalyze action and investment. It released a first discussion paper, “Bridging the Adaptation Gap,” at the COP22 Marrakesh global climate summit in 2016. For more information on GARI, please see: www.garigroup.com.
November 8, 2017 – 427 REPORT. Four Twenty Seven’s Equity Risk Scores help investors identify climate risk exposure in their portfolios and design new investment strategies. Our methodology tackles physical risk head on by identifying the locations of corporate production and retail sites around the world and their vulnerability to climate change hazards, such as sea level rise, droughts, floods and tropical storms, which pose an immediate threat to investment portfolios. This jointly published report explains our equity risk scoring methodology, features a relative risk ranking of CAC40 companies and discusses particular vulnerabilities in Asia.
At COP23 Four Twenty Seven and Deutsche Asset Management jointly released a report featuring a new approach to climate risk management in equity portfolios. Measuring Physical Climate Risk in Equity Portfolios showcases Four Twenty Seven’s Equity Risk Scoring methodology, which identifies hotspots in investment portfolios by assessing the geographic exposure of publicly-traded companies to climate change.
This comprehensive, data-driven scoring effort culminates in a composite physical risk score that allows for comparison and benchmarking of equities and indices. This integrated measure provides a point of entry to understand and address climate risk, engage with corporations and identify risk mitigation strategies. “This report is a major step forward to addressing a serious and growing risk that investors face. To keep advancing our efforts, we believe the investment industry needs to champion the disclosure of once-in-a-lifetime climate risks by companies so we can assess these risks even more accurately going forward,” said Nicolas Moreau, Head of Deutsche Asset Management.
- Four Twenty Seven’s equity scoring methodology includes Operations Risk, Supply Chain Risk and Market Risk, accounting for differential vulnerability to climate hazards between industries, asset types and locations.
- Four Twenty Seven screens each corporate site for its exposure and sensitivity to a set of climate hazards including extreme precipitation, sea level rise, hurricanes, heat stress, water stress and wildfires.
- To calculate Supply Chain Risk and Market Risk, Four Twenty Seven uses companies’ financial data, such as revenues and production.
- China leads the world in terms of coastal risk, with 145 million people and economic assets located on land threatened by rising seas, and countries throughout Asia are particularly vulnerable to climate risk.
- The Thailand floods of 2011 led to vast repercussions across industries, including car manufacturers, Thailand’s rice industry and even tourism.
Four Twenty Seven’s ever-growing database now includes close to one million corporate sites and covers over 1800 publicly-traded companies. We offer subscription products and advisory services to access this unique dataset. Options include data feeds, an interactive analytics platform and company scorecards, as well as custom portfolio analysis and benchmarking.
Four Twenty Seven led a comprehensive market analysis and feasibility study for a multilateral development bank to help catalyze and mobilize private capital investment in adaptation and resilience. The study included:
- Current investments in adaptation and resilience from public and private investors;
- An assessment of vulnerability, readiness and adaptation potential by region and by country;
- An analysis of commercial viable adaptation interventions and technologies that can be scaled or replicated, by sector;
- Identification of barriers and bottlenecks to private sector investment in adaptation & resilience
- Development of solutions to overcome barriers, create an enabling environment, and mobilize flows of capital into adaptation investment, in particular for infrastructure and SME resilience
Reposted from The Huffington Post, The Blog, view it on HuffPo HERE.
- In the short run, Brexit means, at the very least, delays and complications in the process towards the ratification of the Paris Accord.
- The financial volatility caused by the referendum’s outcome could distract the worlds’ financial regulators and have a negative impact on current efforts to better regulate climate-related financial disclosures.
- Looking ahead, the incoming Eurosceptic government in the UK is unlikely to make climate change its priority, depriving global climate negotiations from a leader and political engine towards more ambitious GHG cuts.
- In a worst case scenario, a full-blown global economic crisis would set back investments in clean energy, cut budget for both mitigation and adaptation efforts, and fuel further discontent from the middle-class and the unemployed.
- Over the long run, a possible “contagion” effect enabling populist victories in upcoming elections in the US, Spain, France or Germany over the next 12 months could further hamper the enactment of effective global climate policy.
Political Implications: Impact on the Paris Accord
The only certainty regarding the impact of Brexit on climate policy comes from the extensive political uncertainty and financial volatility the referendum outcome has triggered. As the political debate turns towards the process for the UK to exit from the EU and deepening internal tensions between the UK and the “pro remain” constituents within Scotland and Northern Ireland, this uncertainty will at a minimum cause a temporary slowdown of the ratification process of the Paris Accord.
The ratification process was already expected to be long and complex for the EU. Each country has to approve the ratification domestically before the EU as a whole ratifies the accord. In the context of such a lengthy process, we think it is highly unlikely the lame-duck Cameron government would stick its neck out and push for a rapid ratification of the accord in the next three months, before its scheduled October departure. It is unclear how the UK will affect the EU ratification process during the two years preceding Britain’s formal exit from the EU.
This leaves the next government in charge of a possible ratification. Leading candidate for British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who are credited with driving the success of the Leave vote, both do not believe in or prioritize climate change, casting a shadow of uncertainty over whether the UK might actually ratify the Paris accord at all.
However, the Paris Accord requires the ratification from 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions to come into forces. A refusal from the UK to ratify would send a negative signal but a single country representing 2 percent of global emissions would not bring the global process to an end. While the UK has historically been a driving force in global and EU climate negotiations, we expect the new UK government will at best be a follower, at worst a laggard and opposing force in global climate policy.
Beyond Britain: The Rise of Populism
While the direct political implications of the referendum on UK climate policy are quite predictable, we cannot rule out a potential ripple effect on the willingness from other countries to ratify the Paris accord. More generally, the UK vote signals that current populist trends in the world’s largest economies – U.S., France, Germany in particular – could bring a deep reshuffling of cards for climate policy. Populists parties are typically lukewarm, if not outright opposed to climate policy and global agreements, as illustrated by the so-called Trump Trajectory in the U.S.
A rise in climate-sceptic governments could bring to a halt the progress brought about by the Paris accord and set us back toward a high carbon emission pathway. At this point in time, however, we believe most governments have a robust understanding of the seriousness of the issue of climate change, and will do their best to proceed with the accord ratification and with meeting their targets.
Financial Implications: Impact on Efforts to Regulate and Price Climate Risk
A very immediate impact from Brexit-induced financial volatility and risk of recession will be felt on efforts to better understand, regulate and price climate-related risks on financial markets. The very institutions and individuals that have been leading this effort globally – the Financial Stability Board and its Chair, Mark Carney, who is also the Chair of the Bank of England, as well as to some extent the Securities and Exchange Commission in the U.S., are going to be entirely focused on preventing a complete collapse of the British economy and a global recession. This will necessarily cause distraction away from the recent efforts to push climate change higher on the agenda of financial decision-makers.
Assuming the world’s financial leaders are successful in preventing a global recession and the volatility of financial markets continues, we expect the discussion to resume and allow the recommendations from the Task Force on Financial Climate-Related Disclosure to garner the attention needed from global financial regulatory bodies.
However, if Britain’s decision to leave the EU were to cause continued turmoil on financial markets around the world, leading to a major recession, the impacts on climate change policy could be extensive, and mostly negative. Recessions in general are bad for the environment because jobs and financial volatility typically take precedence on the political agenda over environmental regulations and climate policy, often perceived as putting added burden on the economy. A global recession could lead to budget cuts and increased contention over energy and climate budgets, and otherwise lead to a scale back of efforts to reduce emissions.
Financial instability also means a setback for investments in clean energy, with financial flows likely to flock towards safe havens (U.S. bonds, gold) and away from riskier investments. Expectations of trade financing faltering, credit spreads narrowing, emerging markets assets under serious stress and a worse-than-expected earnings season, impacting equity valuations all point to less money for adaptation in developing countries and a further slowdown in renewables investment levels.
The UK’s decision to leave the EU puts both financial markets and climate policy to the test. Financial markets were still slowly recovering from the second greatest recession in the history of modern markets, and this is where the main uncertainty stands at the time of writing. Short term volatility may bring distractions but unlikely to drive a meaningful change of course away from greater climate risk disclosures. If continued economic turmoil materialized, it could slow down investments in clean energy and put climate and environmental issues on the back burner once again.
By Emilie Mazzacurati and Camille LeBlanc
Image courtesy: Free Range Stock, photographer Daniel J Schreiber “London Landscape”
Comment Letter from Four Twenty Seven to Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. (Download full letter here)
May 23, 2016
Dear Chairman Bloomberg,
Four Twenty Seven, Inc., a climate resilience research and advisory firm, is pleased to submit this letter of comment for your consideration and to help inform the work of the Task Force on Climate-Related Risk Disclosures (TCFD) during Phase II.
We commend you for the important work undertaken by the TCFD and your deliberate efforts to engage practitioners and stakeholders in providing input along the way. Providing guidance around climate risk disclosures is a critical step not only to help ensure financial markets will not be blindsided by predictable risks, but also to ensure that investors send the appropriate price signals to the decision-makers for the underlying assets – from corporate boards to public officials and real estate owners — thus providing an incentive to better prepare for and adapt to the physical impacts of climate change.
Our comments stem from years of working closely with Fortune 500 corporations to help them understand climate change impacts, quantify risk and monetize costs. We anticipate this type of analysis will need to become widespread for corporations to comply with the forthcoming guidance from the TCFD, and wanted to share our lessons learned from our past work.
Our comments, detailed below following the questionnaire structure, center around two key takeaways:
- The need to redefine climate risk to better account for direct and indirect risks related to the physical impacts of climate change. Regulatory, technology or transition risks are by no means confined to greenhouse gases, and focusing a disclosure framework only on extreme weather events and direct physical impacts would be deeply misguided. It is critical that corporations understand, address and disclosure their exposure to risks and opportunities related to transition risk due to:
- Regulatory changes driven by climate change (e.g. changes in underground water regulation, permitting, zoning, etc.);
- Costs and revenues associated with finding and deploying adaptive technologies to improve corporate resilience, mitigate risk exposure and promote more efficient resources use;
- Costs associated with capital expenditure, retrofitting or moving facilities, infrastructure and other critical assets out of harm’s way.
- Costs and revenues associated with increasing the company’s adaptive capacity, ranging from increased legal and insurance costs to investments in human capital, supply chain risk management, engagement with local governments to support climate adaptation efforts, and other public-private partnerships.
- Macro-economic and financial risk for property owners, market risks for certain products, etc.
- The need to incorporate climate data into decision-making processes and provide vulnerability assessments at the asset-level for both corporations and investors.
- Corporations need to utilize fully the wealth of climate data and projections that are available, and leverage sophisticated techniques and models to incorporate uncertainty into their decision processes.
- Climate risk analysis must be performed at the asset-level, even if the final disclosures do not include all the asset-level data, and should rely on common standards, assumptions and scenarios to enable comparison across assets and across markets.
- Risk assessments should be subject to third-party verification to ensure they are complete and cover all the material risks.
Download Four Twenty Seven’s Comment Letter (FourTwentySeven_PhaseI_CommentLetter) for our detailed analysis on climate risk reporting.
We have all heard about the doomsday climate change can bring. Rising seas, blistering heat waves, and epic storms are but small samples from the chronicle of destruction possible due to climate risk. When considering the doomsday scenarios, questions arise about where, when, and how these changes will take place.
Recent research from a team of climate scientist led by James Hansen posits that the timeframe in which we will begin to see the impacts from sea level rise and super storms, may be more severe and shorter than expected. The paper argues that the phenomenon of stratification (when melting freshwater from glacier melt disrupts the saline pumps of the deep ocean, causing warm water to collect at the bottom of the sea where it melts ice shelves) along with other feedback loops, have not been fully captured in previous climate models.
The Hansen Theory
Hansen and his team suggest that with the new math in place “ice mass loss from the most vulnerable ice, sufficient to raise sea level several meters, is better approximated as exponential than by a more linear response. Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield multi-meter sea level rise in about 50, 100 or 200 years.” In other words, ice melt that was previously thought to be occurring at a predictable rate is now potentially occurring at rate several times higher.
This is not the first time that the science has been updated and caught the eye of the media. As a result, climate scientists like James Hansen and Michael Mann have become well known in environmentalist circles. In 2012, climate activist Bill McKibben became especially revered when his article in Rolling Stone Magazine: Climate Change’s Terrifying New Math gathered similar attention and reactions from the media as the Hansen report.
As suggested by the new research and steady stream of media updates, it is clear that climate science is a constantly evolving and improving practice. While it is true that the data points are becoming more robust, and new discoveries like stratification are being baked into the latest climate models, scientists will be the first to tell us that we still have a lot left to learn about how climate change is altering our earth’s systems.
Michael E. Mann, the scientist who popularized the classic hockey stick graph stated in response to the new report “Some of the claims in this paper are indeed extraordinary. They conflict with the mainstream understanding of climate change to the point where the standard of proof is quite high.”
Towards Climate Adaptation Science?
While the work climate scientists like Hansen and Michael Mann continues to advance the science, some members of the climate community are beginning to question the value of continuing to refine the accuracy of climate science. Suggesting instead that it may be time to refocus resources traditionally spent on increasing the degree of confidence towards adaptation science.
The argument is that after a certain point the ability for climate science to generate new insights is subject to diminishing returns. As such, it doesn’t matter as much to nail down exact predictions of when and where and by how much the impacts of climate change will hit, when we know they are already here and will continue to grow. With the climate science we have now, we are very good at projecting what 60 cm of sea level rise looks like, and how that sea level rise will impact our coasts. However, we are not great at knowing when that sea level rise will happen.
Those wanting to focus resources on adaption science argue that this distinction shouldn’t really matter. Think of the results of climate science like a high blood pressure reading, how bad the reading is doesn’t change the fact that you still have to go exercise and change your diet if you want to be healthier; and its better to hit the gym sooner rather than later.
Using Science for Decision-Support
This is not to say that advancements from Hansen and other climate scientists are irrelevant. On the contrary, it is extremely valuable work, but their findings provide information that should be used to spark interventions that buffer vulnerable regions from the worst of climate change.
At Four Twenty Seven we are picking up where the scientific reports stop. By translating the key warnings and lessons of climate science into strategies that can reduce financial, infrastructural, and social risk, we can prepare for the impacts of climate change regardless of when they occur. By analyzing, monitoring, and providing site specific insights into how climate change affects normal operations, we manage the complexities for stakeholders whose responsibilities cover a wide range of populations and global facilities.
Having reliable climate data and a robust understanding of the changes climate change has put in motion is a great starting point for determining risk factors. LIDAR data from NOAA and other hydrological data sets can be used to anticipate coastal vulnerability to climate charged changes like sea level rise. NASA has its own set of valuable climate data, which has been used to map everything from melting ice in Greenland to diminishing wine grape harvests in France and Switzerland. Such robust and continuously updated datasets allow for meaningful vulnerability assessments that can inform effective adaptation plans.
Our team has been putting climate data like this to use for our clients. As part of our commitment to the White House Climate Data Initiative we created a dashboard tool of Heat and Social Inequity in the United States, designed to help health care providers understand the risks climate change poses to their community and hospital operations. It’s through tools like this that we hope to help our clients prepare for the risks climate change presents to the businesses and communities they serve.
It is our hope that the science continues to advance, and new research like that presented by Hansen and his team continues to give us a better picture of the rate at which we can expect climate change to escalate. We also hope to use this information to advance the important work of adaptation. Solving climate change takes both good science and a roadmap forward. A ‘climate doomsday’ becomes less scary when we realize the power is in our hands to be prepared regardless of when it happens.
Learn more about our work to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
Climate Week NYC always reminds me of a scavenger hunt. You have to make your way across the city, oblivious and buzzing, from one event to the other, sometime literally searching for the right building or event venue – but once you find it, a new world opens.
Dedicated groups of practitioners and experts gathered from all around the country to discuss the next big thing in climate adaptation, share their insights and look up to the next challenge.
On September 22nd, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) launched its new report Weathering the Next Storm, which analyzes how Fortune 100 corporations approach climate risk and resilience: what they’re concerned about, what they disclose, and what they’re doing – or not doing – about it. You can view the video recording of the event on YouTube, including the excellent panel on corporate best practices moderated by Janet Peace from C2ES.
C2ES’s series of reports on business climate resilience are among my favorites, and this report is no exception. The good news: the number of Fortune 100 companies that acknowledge that climate risk is material is growing. The bad news: they’re still not doing much about it, for four key reasons:
These challenges are also the ones we had identified in our 2015 Corporate Adaptation Survey, and what we work on solving, day in and out. You can find more on business resilience and key takawayrs from the C2ES report in this blog post.
On September 23rd our partners the Notre-Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN) unveiled the recipients of the ND-GAIN 2015 Corporate Adaptation Prize, which recognizes excellence in climate adaptation for projects in countries below 60 on the NDGAIN Index.
A small Dutch company, DADTCO, and multinational giants AECOM’s and IBM’s Resilience Scorecard won the day. The panel discussion revolved a lot around how to incentivize resilience investments. Nick Shuffro from PwC pointed to the lack of price signal from the insurance industry, since companies that have invested in resilience do not get lower premium, while Peter Williams from IBM insisted we need to point to the return on investment (ROI) of resilience projects so they can compete with other investment opportunities in the business. I could not agree more.
Later that day, Triple Pundit had invited me to a Twitter chat on The Business Case for Climate Action ahead of COP21. The full recap of the Twitter chat, which also involved the Climate Reality Project and Novozyme, is here. In general, it’s worth noting we tweet live from all the events we attend – you can follow us @427climaterisk and @emazzacurati.
Last but not least, Risky Business Project held a fantastic event on September 24. The Climate Data Summit brought together a large swath of professionals dedicated to bringing climate science and climate data to business for a behind-the-scene conversation on technical and economic challenges in using climate data in a business setting. It’s hard to do justice to the rich conversations that unfolded in a short post, but you can listen to my remarks on “Listening to End-Users:Climate Data and the Bottom Line” in the audiocast here.
Did I find a treasure at the end of my Climate Week NYC scavenger hunt? Not one, but many nuggets of wisdom and new connections to continue down the path of our journey to climate resilience.
Four Twenty Seven helps corporations understand how climate change will impact them and become more resilient.