US Automotive Manufacturing Hubs Exposed to Climate Risk

Introduction: Growing Investment in US Manufacturing

Manufacturing stands out as a key part of President Biden’s America Jobs Plan and there is wide support for strengthening American manufacturing. Historically, manufacturing was a backbone of the domestic economy, contributing around 25% to national GDP, but that number fell to 11% in 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for resilient and local supply chains, and provides an opportunity to transition to a low-carbon economy as part of the recovery. Investing in the domestic manufacturing industry offers a lifeline to new sectors, such as electric vehicles (EVs), which can introduce clean energy jobs nationwide. The American Jobs Plan offers “$52 billion to increase access to capital for domestic manufacturers, focusing on successful existing access programs and targeting rural manufacturing and clean energy” and “a $174 billion investment to win the EV market.” While it’s unclear if this exact proposal will pass, it is likely that there will be growing investment in domestic manufacturing. At the same time, increasingly frequent climate-driven extreme weather events demonstrate the need to build climate resilience into new manufacturing investments.

In this analysis, we explore municipal climate risk exposure in states with significant and growing automotive manufacturing industries. Understanding municipal climate risk is important because in addition to the direct physical threat to manufacturing plants, climate emergencies cause loss of life, hinder commutes and disrupt supply chains by closing roads, airports and other infrastructure. We leverage our county climate risk scores, which quantify population-weighted exposure to floods, heat stress, hurricanes & typhoons, sea level rise, water stress and wildfires, over the 2030-2040 horizon.

Automotive Manufacturing in Michigan & Tennessee

Both Michigan and Tennessee have seen “real manufacturing GDP grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 3% between 2009 and 2019, about twice as high as the national rate.” Michigan automotive manufacturing generated around $225 billion and 712,000 jobs in 2019. Automotive manufacturing is Tennessee’s dominant manufacturing sector and the state’s employment in the  sector is 3.3 times higher than national average.

In addition to serving as hubs for traditional automotive manufacturing, Michigan and Tennessee are both seeing increasing investment in EVs, which provide a growing opportunity for these states to continue revitalizing their automobile manufacturing sectors while creating jobs and growing their economies. However, when making capital-intensive investments in new facilities and equipment it is important to consider the long-term risks these assets may face, to protect the company’s investment, and also to ensure that the regional economic benefits are seen.

Flood Risk

In addition to damaging equipment and products, floods can also cause upstream and downstream supply chain disruptions and impact manufacturing productivity if employees cannot get to work. Moreover, since manufacturing can serve as a regional anchor, employees living one or two counties over may be affected by floods that avoid the facility itself.

Figure 1. Michigan county-level exposure to flood risk.

Of Michigan’s 83 counties, 70% are exposed to high flood risk (Figure 1). In 2020, flood damage in Midland County was assessed at over $200 million as heavy rains broke dams and led to significant flooding. Further south,  Wayne County has long been a nexus for the automotive industry and is home to the headquarters of both General Motors and Ford. Ford pledged $850 million  and Fiat Chrysler is investing $4.5 billion to build assembly plants and expand operations there. The county also holds 23% of US automotive production and 76% of total automotive Research & Development. While Figure 1 shows that Wayne County is at a lower risk for flooding than the surrounding counties, all manufacturing in the area would be affected by delivery delays and commute disruptions if the regional transportation infrastructure is not prepared for increased floods.

Figure 2. Tennessee county-level exposure to floods.

In Tennessee, about 90% of the 95 counties are exposed to high flood risk (Figure 2). We find that most key manufacturing hubs are at high risk of flooding, while others are adjacent to highly exposed counties. Williamson County, where General Motors is planning a multi-billion dollar EV battery plant, neighbors Davidson County, the epicenter of catastrophic flooding, and multiple deaths in March 2021. This flood event ultimately led to a Federal Disaster Declaration which expanded to neighboring counties.  Rutherford County has high flood risk and is home of the US manufacturing facility for Nissan Leaf, which was 2016’s most productive automotive manufacturing facility.

Heat Stress 

Heat stress is also a significant threat to manufacturing. It can cause electricity shortages or outages due to increased use of air conditioning, which is already happening more frequently as heat waves increase in duration and severity. Increasing temperatures also present a public health hazard that increases the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory illness and lowers worker productivity. Research shows that temperatures above 90F for six or more days reduces weekly production by an average of 8% in US automotive manufacturing plants.

Figure 3. Michigan county-level exposure to heat stress.

Heat stress is less of statewide concern for Michigan, with only 12% of counties exposed (Figure 3), but it is a high risk for Wayne County, where most of the state’s automotive manufacturing is centered.  Ford, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors all reopened their North American manufacturing facilities on May 18th. This means facilities with high exposure to heat stress are coming back online right as summer is picking up, and the season is likely to be warmer than average, especially in southern Michigan.

Figure 4. Tennessee county-level exposure to heat stress.

Over 92% of Tennessee counties are exposed to heat stress (Figure 4), which represents significant risk for the industry and economies it underpins. The key counties housing the state’s automotive manufacturing facilities are all at high risk. New environmental commitments by General Motors signal growth in domestic EV manufacturing, as they plan a multi-billion dollar EV battery plant in Tennessee with LG Electronics. In a state largely exposed to increasing temperatures, planning for increasing energy costs will help increase the viability of these new facilities.

Mitigating Climate Risk

The revitalization of the US automotive manufacturing industry provides an opportunity for key regions to benefit from population growth, a growing tax base and increased economic activity. However, the success of these developments will rely on business resilience to increasing climate extremes. There are opportunities for municipalities to invest in climate resilience measures both to reduce risk to existing businesses and to attract more business. For example, New York City’s  report outlining ways in which industry can take innovative and cost effective approaches to implementing flood preparedness measures also highlights opportunities for the public sector to support these efforts, including through flexible zoning.

Companies would benefit from exploring a region’s climate risk carefully before developing new facilities and from pricing effective risk mitigations into plant development. For example, for heat stress, at the site level, companies can anticipate higher energy costs, improve insulation, build generators, leverage renewable energy and invest in monitoring and predictive systems to understand facility-level energy use. Nissan installed sub-metering in its Tennessee facilities to monitor energy use, identify unnecessary energy draws, and reschedule certain fabrication to when more energy is available.

Likewise, due to the automobile industry’s reliance on both reliable energy and onsite employees, there are opportunities for businesses to engage with the municipalities to help maintain the resilience of key regional infrastructure to relevant hazards like floods and heat waves. For example, companies can partner with the public sector on initiatives like investing in parks and other green infrastructure which can both help reduce the health impacts of heat waves and can also contribute to flood reduction. Companies such as General MotorsFord, and Nissan invest heavily in education and training for the communities where they are located, and there may be an opportunity to develop trainings around climate risk, which can contribute to increased resilience of the local community, including companies’ employees and customers.

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This post was updated on June 4th to omit data on company facility exposure due to data limitations.

Newsletter: Climate Commitments

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

In Focus: Climate Commitments

Climate Summit Commitments

The leaders of 40 nations and key private sector participants who joined Biden's Climate Summit last week, made new emissions reductions targets or recommitted to existing promises. The US, Canada, Brazil, Japan and other countries made ambitious new commitments. While change comes when commitments are followed by tangible action, these have the potential to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, with implications for businesses and investors, including significant opportunities.


Financial Sector Action on Climate Change

Meanwhile, financial regulators around the world continue to issue guidance and expectations around climate risk. Last week the EU published the climate adaptation and mitigation portion of its Sustainable Finance Taxonomy and investors will be expected to disclose in line with the taxonomy starting next year. The EU also published a draft legislative proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, which would replace the Non-Financial Reporting Directive and greatly expand the number of companies mandated to report on a range of environmental factors, including climate. New Zealand is considering passing a bill that would mandate climate risk disclosure for banks, insurers and investors by 2023. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority issued a public consultation on its draft guidance for financial institutions to manage the risks of climate change.

Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, announced the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) last week, bringing together several industry-led net zero initiatives focused on supporting the transition to net zero emissions by 2050. Participating groups include the new Net Zero Banking Alliance, the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative and the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance. The Net Zero Insurance Alliance is expected to launch soon and will also join GFANZ. There are over 160 participating firms, which commit to science-based targets, addressing all emission scopes, issuing transparent disclosures and setting 2030 interim targets. 
 

The American Jobs Plan

Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure proposal places climate change and environmental justice in the center. The plan's wide-ranging elements include funding to grow the electric vehicle market in the US and to improve the nation's aging water and electricity infrastructure. There are provisions for affordable housing and a distinct focus on jobs training to support a just transition to a low-carbon economy. The plan aims to remove fossil fuel subsidies and mandate that the companies help pay to cleanup toxic sites. As crumbling infrastructure and polluting facilities are often in low-income communities and communities of color, these items would contribute to fostering environmental justice. Likewise, the plan allocates funding specifically to communities of color and frontline communities, and includes provisions to increase wages for in-home care workers who are often women of color, and for broadband internet development which is particularly needed in Black and Latino communities.

Moody's Analytics assessed the macroeconomic implications of the plan, saying it "provides a meaningful boost to the nation's long-term economic growth."
Banks and Climate Stress Tests

Moody's Webinar - Climate Stress Tests: What You Need to Know

As numbers of regulators begin to roll out climate stress tests and climate risks continue to grow, understanding how to undertake informative climate stress tests is becoming increasingly essential. Join us for a live, interactive panel discussion on climate scenarios and stress testing on Thursday May 6, at  3pm BST / 10am ET / 7am PT.

Key Discussion Points:
  • How are central banks incorporating climate stress testing into financial supervisory requirements?
  • What are the different types of scenarios needed for assessing climate risk?
  • What are the key building blocks for climate stress testing? How do they fit together?
Speakers:
  • Carmelo Salleo, Head of Division, Stress Test Modelling Division, European Central Bank
  • Emilie Mazzacurati, Global Head of Moody's Climate Solutions, Moody's ESG Solutions
  • Burcu Guner, Senior Director-Risk & Finance SME, Moody's Analytics
  • Rahul Ghosh, Managing Director-Outreach & Research, Moody's ESG Solutions (moderator)
Register Here

Moody's Investors Service: Climate Risk for Banks

Moody's Investors Service report, Climate change to force further business model transformation for banks, outlines ways in which carbon transition and physical climate risk will influence banks' risk assessment requirements and present new costs and credits risks for banks. The analysis covers the forthcoming stress testing requirements, discussing their credit implications. 
BIS Resources on Climate Risk for Banks
The Bank for International Settlements released two reports on climate risk, focusing on transmission channels of climate risk to banks and methodologies to measure climate-related financial risks. The report on transmission channels finds that climate risks affects banks through the traditional financial risk categories including market risk, liquidity risk and
operational risk. It underscores the ways in which the impacts of climate risk depend on geography, sector and the economic and financial system and emphasizes the need for more research on how climate risk translates into different types of financial risk. 

The report on measurement tools underscore the needs for granular, forward-looking data on climate-related financial risks, which includes new climate data tools in addition to improved information on counterparty locations. It discusses the early emphasis on risk assessment for near-term transition risk and the need to expand assessments and scenario analysis to include a range of physical climate hazards. The report highlights the increased research focus on translating climate risks into traditional financial risk metrics, noting that much progress to date has focused on credit risk, with market and liquidity risk at even earlier stages. 
Real Assets Exposed to Physical Climate Risk

Moody's Investors Service Adds Climate Data to RMBS Presale Reports

Moody's Investors Service presale and new issues reports for residential mortgage backed securitizations rated out of the US or Europe, now include Four Twenty Seven's physical climate risk scores as an appendix. "While these climate risk scores are not specifically incorporated in our ratings analysis, we believe these additional disclosures will be of great value to market participants," says London-based Moody's Investors Service Senior Vice President Anthony Parry in the press release.

Moody's Investors Service: Climate Hazards Threaten US Seaports

This Moody's Investors Service analysis, Intensifying climate events risk disruptions to seaport operations across the US, leverages Four Twenty Seven's physical climate risk data to assess the exposure of ports to climate hazards including floods, heat stress, hurricanes, sea level rise, water stress and wildfires. It highlights that landlord ports typically have more fixed revenues than port operators, which can reduce the short-term impacts of extreme events. In addition to significant exposure to storms and flooding, West Coast ports often face risks from wildfires, with implications for supply chains and transportation infrastructure. Similarly, while less damaging for the ports themselves, heat stress and water stress can affect agriculture exports, in turn affecting a port's business. Register for free to read the analysis.
Increasing Global Wildfire Potential 

Four Twenty Seven's Peer-Reviewed Research on Wildfire Potential Under Climate Change

2020 was a devastating wildfire year and this year is gearing up to just as hot and dry in many regions. This is a global trend exacerbated by climate change. Four Twenty Seven's article, A global assessment of wildfire potential under climate change utilizing Keetch-Byram drought index and land cover classifications, published in Environmental Research Communications, explores the effects of climate change on global wildfire potential. It shows that by 2040, regions like the American West, Australia and the Amazon will be drier and hotter for much longer than historical averages, experiencing more than 60 additional days of high wildfire potential per year.  

This article provides the detailed methodology behind Four Twenty Seven's publication, Climate Change and Wildfires: Projecting Future Wildfire Potential, which discusses key findings including regional trends and hotspots.

Current Drought & Wildfire Potential in the Western US

Drought contributes to conditions that are conducive to wildfires and also presents significant health and economic risks. In California, farmers are questioning the viability of their businesses and many families are facing depleted and contaminated wells. The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is at 28% of normal, dry conditions are expected to persist through June and the summer is expected to have higher than average temperatures. This all suggests that a dangerous fire season is on the horizon. As the state continues to face these costly climate-driven events, California launched a Climate-Related Risk Disclosure Advisory Group earlier this month, to support the development of a climate risk disclosure standard.

Other Western states are also enduring damaging droughts, with North and South Dakota entirely in drought conditions and parts of Texas, Iowa and Colorado all experiencing drought impacts. Last week the White House launched an Interagency Working Group to focus on addressing the drought conditions in the West and their dire implications for farmers, Tribes and other communities.
Upcoming Events

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

  • May 6 Moody's Webinar on Climate Stress Tests: What You Need to Know: Founder & CEO and Global Head of Moody's Climate Solutions, Emilie Mazzacurati, will present on the drivers behind emerging stress testing requirements. See more details above.
  • May 25 Moody's Investors Service Emerging Markets Summit 2021: Associate Director, Research, John Naviaux, will present on sovereign physical climate risk.
  • Jun 2-4 Green Swan 2021: Emilie Mazzacurati will present during the session on climate-related risks data and accounting. Invitation only. 
  • Jun 22 – Ideas + Action 2021: Sustainability and Resilience: Emilie Mazzacurati will present on the economic implications of climate risk. 
  • Jul 23 – Environmental Business Council of New England Annual Climate Summit: Director, Global Client Services, Lindsay Ross, will present on physical climate risks.
  • Sept 22 2021 CARE Sustainability Conference: Director, Communications, Natalie Ambrosio Preudhomme will present on financial climate risk analytics during the panel "Implementation Issues."
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Copyright © 2021 Four Twenty Seven, All rights reserved.
Four Twenty Seven sends a newsletter focused on bringing climate intelligence into economic and financial decision-making for investors, corporations and governments. Fill in the form below to join our mailing list. As data controller, we collect your email address with your consent in order to send you our newsletter. Four Twenty Seven will never share your mailing information with anyone and you may unsubscribe at any moment. Please read our Terms and Conditions.
 

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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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Copyright © 2021 Four Twenty Seven, All rights reserved.
Four Twenty Seven sends a newsletter focused on bringing climate intelligence into economic and financial decision-making for investors, corporations and governments. Fill in the form below to join our mailing list. As data controller, we collect your email address with your consent in order to send you our newsletter. Four Twenty Seven will never share your mailing information with anyone and you may unsubscribe at any moment. Please read our Terms and Conditions.
 

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









Webinar Recording: Climate Change, Real Estate and the Bottom Line

This webinar on Climate Change, Real Estate and the Bottom Line  features a discussion on the interactions between climate change and real estate investment, development and operations. It’s part of the webinar series The Path to Tomorrow, hosted by Goodwin and the MIT Center for Real Estate.

Speakers

  • Emilie Mazzacurati, Global Head of Moody’s Climate Solutions and Founder and CEO of Four Twenty Seven
  • Carl Hedde, Head of Insurance Practice, One Concern and Principal, CGH Consulting, LLC
  • Rose Marie E. Glazer, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Deputy General Counsel, AIG
  • Steve Weikal, Head of Industry Relations, MIT Center for Real Estate
  • Minta Kay, Partner and Chair, Real Estate Industry Group; Co-Chair, PropTech Group, Goodwin

Moody’s ESG Solutions Group Appoints Global Head of Climate Solutions

Moody’s appoints Four Twenty Seven Founder & CEO, Emilie Mazzacurati, as Global Head of Moody’s Climate Solutions, with Moody’s ESG Solutions Group. Read the press release from Moody’s:

LONDON- (BUSINESS WIRE) – Moody’s announced today that it has appointed Emilie Mazzacurati as Global Head of Moody’s Climate Solutions. In this newly-established role, Ms. Mazzacurati will oversee the climate solutions suite within Moody’s ESG Solutions Group, a new business unit formed earlier this year to serve the growing global demand for ESG and climate analytics. Ms. Mazzacurati will report to Andrea Blackman, Global Head of Moody’s ESG Solutions. 

As global awareness and recognition of the financial risks posed by climate change increase, Moody’s is committed to meeting market needs for forward-looking, science-driven climate analytics that help advance a resilient financial system, responsible capitalism, and the greening of the economy,” said Ms. Blackman. “Emilie’s extensive climate expertise will be vital to our continued development of climate solutions and to ensuring that Moody’s is a leading voice in this important area.” 

As part of its climate solutions suite, Moody’s ESG Solutions provides risk measurement and evaluation tools to understand, quantify and manage climate risks for physical and transition risk, informing due diligence and risk disclosure in line with the recommendations from the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).  

Climate risk analytics from Moody’s ESG Solutions are also integrated into Moody’s Analytics risk management tools, translating climate risk exposure into financial impact and credit risk metrics for banks, insurers, and investorsSimilarly, the group’s climate data and insights are increasingly being leveraged in Moody’s Investors Service credit analysisBy offering data and analytics across asset classes, including listed and unlisted companies, real estate, infrastructure, sovereigns and municipalities, Moody’s ESG Solutions supports the integration of climate-related risks into financial decision-making and risk management. 

Moody’s ESG Solutions climate offerings build on the award-winning physical climate risk analytics from Four Twenty Seven, leading provider of climate risk data and market intelligencefounded by Ms. Mazzacurati in 2012. Moody’s acquired a majority stake in Four Twenty Seven in 2019 and recently took full ownership. Moody’s climate solutions suite also leverages data from V.E, a Moody’s affiliate with expertise in transition risk, ESG, and corporate disclosures. 

ABOUT MOODY’S ESG SOLUTIONS 

Moody’s ESG Solutions Group is a business unit of Moody’s Corporation serving the growing global demand for ESG and climate insights. The group leverages Moody’s data and expertise across ESG, climate risk, and sustainable finance, and aligns with Moody’s Investors Service (MIS) and Moody’s Analytics (MA) to deliver a comprehensive, integrated suite of ESG and climate risk solutions including ESG scores, analytics, Sustainability Ratings and Sustainable Finance Reviewer/certifier services. 

For more information visit Moody’s ESG & Climate Risk hub at www.moodys.com/esg 

Moody’s: Climate Risk and Resilience at US Airports

Climate change will expose the airport sector to increased physical climate risks within the next two decades. In its report, US airports face growing climate risks, but business model and resiliency investments mitigate impact, Moody’s Investors Service leverages Four Twenty Seven’s physical climate risk data to explore potential damages from increased exposure of US airports to floods, heat stress, hurricanes, sea level rise and wildfires.

The report found that in 2004-2019, an average 37% of delayed flights annually resulted from climate-related extreme weather events. Airports along coastlines or rivers face particular risks as floods can damage crucial structures such as runways and terminals leading to significant costs or rendering the assets unusable. Likewise hurricanes can cause widespread damage including economic impacts on broader regions. Heat stress and wildfire smoke can both present challenges for planes taking off or landing, leading to delayed or canceled flights or adjusted cargo loads.

Airports often undertake long-term capital intensive projects and integrating resilience measures into planning these investments will be critical. Liquidity will also help absorb the effect of disruptive climate-related events.

Moody’s subscribers can read the full report here.

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To learn more about Four Twenty Seven’s climate risk data, check out our solutions for investors, banks and corporations or read our report on.

Report: Climate Change and Sovereign Risk

This joint report provides a comprehensive analysis of the ways in which climate risks affect sovereign risk, demonstrating new empirical evidence of how climate risk and resilience influence the costs of capital. It also explores the implications for Southeast Asia in particular, where countries are highly exposed to climate change risks and their economic consequences. Lastly, the report outlines five policy recommendations based on these findings. The report was a collaboration between the Centre for Sustainable Finance at SOAS University of London, the Asian Development Bank Institute, the World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore and Four Twenty Seven.

Download the full report.

Download the Executive Summary.

Watch the launch event.

“Climate Change and Sovereign Risk” outlines six transmission channels through which climate change affects sovereign risk and in turn the cost of capital, providing examples of each and explaining how they’re connected. It uses empirical analysis to demonstrate the significant impacts of climate risk exposure on the cost of capital. Using a sample of 40 developed and emerging economies, econometric analysis shows that higher climate risk vulnerability leads to significant rises in the cost of sovereign borrowing. Premia on sovereign bond yields amount to around 275 basis points for economies highly exposed to climate risk. This risk premium is estimated at 113 basis points for emerging market economies overall, and 155 basis points for Southeast Asian economies.

To further explore these channels, the report provides a closer look at Southeast Asia, a region with significant exposure to climate hazards such as storms, floods, sea level rise, heat waves and water stress. Physical risks are expected to considerably affect economic activity, international commerce, employment and public finances across Southeast Asian countries. Transition risks will be prominent as exports and economies become affected by international climate policies, technological change and shifting consumption patterns. The implications of climate change for macrofinancial stability and sovereign risk are likely to be material for most if not all countries in Southeast Asia.

The report highlights the need for governments to climate-proof their economies and public finances or potentially face an ever-worsening spiral of climate vulnerability and unsustainable debt burdens. It outlines five policy recommendations, emphasizing the importance for financial authorities to integrate climate risk into their risk management processes and for governments to prioritize comprehensive climate vulnerability assessments and work with the financial sector to promote investment in climate adaptation.

The report was originally posted by SOAS University of London.

Moody’s: Credit Risk of Sea Level Rise for Coastal Governments

Climate change is driving more frequent coastal flooding, which threatens infrastructure, real estate and economies. In its report, Sea Level Rise Increases Credit Risk for Coastal States and Local Governments, Moody’s Investors Service leverages Four Twenty Seven’s climate risk data to explore the credit risks of sea level rise for coastal governments.

The analysis highlights several areas with particular exposure to increasing sea level rise, which threatens property value growth and associate tax revenue, in turn increasing credit risk. Increased disruption due to coastal flooding disrupts the local economies that rely on coastal economic activities to generate revenue. Likewise, areas less exposed to flooding are prone to climate gentrification, as property values increase when these areas become more desirable and residents can be displaced. Though it can be expensive, effective, equitable adaptation measures can reduce vulnerability to sea level rise and support credit-quality. This requires tax revenue, financial capacity, and growth strategies that aim to protect vulnerable local economies and property values.

Coastal economies across the U.S. are exposed to the impacts of sea level rise. However coordinated adaptation efforts between federal, state and local governments can reduce risks. Areas such as Gulf Coast states lag in state-level adaptation policies, causing local governments to shoulder the financial burden of sea level rise, and straining their credit quality. Federal government leadership and increased funding is key in supporting adaptation measures that mitigate the impacts of sea level risks in coastal areas.

Moody’s subscribers can read the full report here.

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To learn more about Four Twenty Seven’s climate risk data, check out our solutions for investors, banks and corporations or read our analysis on the impacts of sea level rise on real estate.

 

Newsletter: Wildfires, Storms and Their Impacts on Credit Risk

Four Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter highlights recent developments in climate risk and resilience. This month we discuss the costs of climate hazards, share updates on Moody's ESG and highlight recent developments in climate risk regulation.

In Focus: The Current Reality of the
Climate Crisis

Devastating Human & Economic Costs of Wildfires

As cities on the West Coast take turns with the worst air quality in the world, and cope with evacuations and loss of life and property from record-breaking wildfires, there is increasing evidence about the longer-term implications of these devastating events. After several years of catastrophic fires in California, exacerbated by hot and dry conditions driven by climate change, homes in exposed areas are likely to decline in value, which in turn can increase mortgage default rate, with severe market implications.

Likewise, as the COVID-19 pandemic limits firefighting resources and makes evacuations particularly challenging, new research continues to emerge about the devastating health impacts of wildfire smoke. For example, "Researchers from the University of Tasmania identified 417 extra deaths that occurred during 19 weeks of smoky air, and reported 3,100 more hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiac ailments and 1,300 extra emergency room visits for asthma" during Australia's bushfires last year.

This is not just a current concern in the U.S., but rather wildfire potential is increasing  globally, and regions such as Brazil and Portugal are also enduring fires. Four Twenty Seven's recent analysis on global wildfire potential assesses how conditions will become more conducive to wildfires in regions around the world.
Read Wildfire Analysis

Dire Records Foreshadow Worsening Extremes

As wildfires ravage the west, Hurricane Sally began to hit southeastern Mississippi and the western Florida Panhandle on Tuesday. The slow-moving storm is expected to continue to drop rain and lead to heavy wind as it moves to shore on Wednesday. This is the 18th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season and the earliest S-named storm on record. Several more hurricanes have already formed in the Atlantic and these back-to-back storms present significant challenges; diminishing the window for search and rescue, increasing the duration of flooding and power outages and exacerbating COVID-19 challenges. Sea level rise driven by climate change worsens storm surge risk during hurricanes and warmer oceans can fuel stronger storms.

This comes as this year's first seven months were the second hottest on record and in the Northern Hemisphere July was the hottest on record, beating the previous record set just last year. This is increasingly evident in the Arctic, where satellite imagery shows that the region's largest remaining ice shelf lost a 110 square km portion and where Bering Sea ice was at a record low during 2018 and 2019. This affects ecosystems and Indigenous communities and contributes to feedback loops of warming in the region when reflective ice is replaced by dark water. Meanwhile, in Antarctica two glaciers that are already contributing to around 5% of global sea level rise were recently found to be less stable than previously understood.

Global Ports Exposed to Floods, Sea Level Rise

Sea ports handle 80% of global goods, so disruptions have significant wide-reaching consequences. This recent Economist article leverages Four Twenty Seven's data to explore risk exposure of about 340 of the world's largest ports. The analysis found that 55% of global trade goes through ports that are highly exposed to at least one hazard, such as floods, sea level rise, storms and wildfires and that 8% of trade passes through ports highly exposed to at least three hazards. This points to a need for risk assessment and resilience investment at ports, which requires capacity-building for port managers and an increase in adaptation finance.
Four Twenty Seven at Moody's:
Integration in Research and Ratings

Moody's Launches Comprehensive ESG Solutions Group

This week Moody’s Corporation announced the formation of an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Solutions Group to serve the growing global demand for ESG insights. The group leverages Moody’s data and expertise across ESG, climate risk, and sustainable finance, and aligns with Moody's Investors Service and Moody's Analytics to deliver a comprehensive, integrated suite of ESG customer solutions.

The ESG Solutions Group includes Four Twenty Seven and Vigeo Eiris, a global pioneer in ESG assessments, data and tools, and sustainable finance. Together, Moody's and its affiliates develop tools and analytics that identify, quantify and report on the impact of ESG and climate-related risks and opportunities. ESG and climate risk considerations are already integrated into credit ratings and research offered by Moody’s Investors Service (see below), and will be integrated into a range of Moody’s Analytics risk management solutions, research, data and analytics platforms, including stress testing solutions and climate-adjusted credit risk analytics for corporates, sovereigns and real estate.

Moody's Investors Service Announces Inclusion of Four Twenty Seven's Climate Risk Data in US CMBS and CRE CLOs

Reflecting the growing materiality of climate events for real estate, Moody's Investors Service now considers climate risk data and analytics from Four Twenty Seven in its research and ratings process for US commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and commercial real estate collateralized loan obligations (CRE CLOs). Presale reports include physical climate risk tables for the properties backing the loans in CMBS and CRE CLO transactions, including their forward-looking risk to floods, heat stress, hurricanes & typhoons, sea level rise, water stress and wildfires. 

Moody’s: U.S. Nuclear Operators Exposed to Physical Climate Risks

Physical climate hazards affect the operations and costs of nuclear plants due to their water needs and reliance on critical equipment. In its report, Nuclear Operators Face Growing Climate Risk but Resiliency Investments Mitigate Impact, Moody’s Investors Service leverages Four Twenty Seven’s physical climate risk data to explore the exposure of nuclear power plants to climate hazards, including heat stress, water stress, flooding and hurricanes. The analysis found that nuclear plant operators face physical and economic risks due to extreme events driven by climate change, and operators and owners will have to consider these risks and explore increased resilience options, as they approach license expiration and renewal processes between 2030 and 2050.
Developments in Climate Risk
Regulation & Assessment

U.S. CFTC Releases Report on Climate Risk

Last week the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission released a report highlighting the economic risks of climate change and emphasizing the need for the financial system to address these risks. The first such report to be issued by a U.S. government entity, it covers both physical and transition climate risks and calls for a nationwide price on carbon. However, this comes two weeks after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission released updated disclosure requirements that don't include climate change.

UK Releases Consultation on Mandating TCFD Disclosure

The UK's Department for Work and Pensions released a public consultation on a proposal to mandate climate risk disclosure. The policy would require pension funds of at least £5 billion to assess and disclosure their climate risks and opportunities under several scenarios by October 2021 and would also apply to funds of at least £1 billion in 2022. Respond by October 7th.
Meanwhile, yesterday, New Zealand announced that it would mandate TCFD disclosure on a comply or explain basis by 2023.

Charting a New Climate: UNEP FI TCFD Banking Pilot Phase II Report

Last week the UNEP Finance Initiative released a report outlining phase II of its pilot project working with global banks to understand their approaches to assessing physical climate risks and opportunities and the tools and data that could best support these processes. It discusses climate risk vulnerability by sector, includes an exploration between the connection between loan performance and climate risk exposure and reviews several data providers, including Four Twenty Seven and our ongoing collaborations with Moody's Analytics.
Moody's ESG Summit: Climate Scenarios

Join Us During Climate Week NYC for a Half Day on Climate Risk

Hear from industry leaders on the latest market developments in climate change and discover new approaches to leveraging climate data and financial indicators to understand how physical and transition risks translate into credit risks. The session will include keynote presentations by Nick Anderson of IASM, Jane Ambachtsheer of BNP Paribas Asset Management and Sean Kidney of the Climate Bonds Initiative. The latter session will feature experts from Moody's, Four Twenty Seven and Vigeo Eiris, discussing new approaches to modeling climate risk and its financial impacts.

This event is hosted by Moody's in partnership with the Climate Bonds Initiative during Climate Week New York City. The session is on September 24th beginning at 9:15am EST.
Register for Free

Moody's Analytics' Launches ESG Risk Assessment Courses

Moody's Analytics' upcoming courses on ESG risk assessment include introductions to climate, environmental and social risks and their connection to credit analysis and portfolio management. These virtual, instructor-led courses will include case studies and discussions on how to assess and manage ESG risks. Topics include ESG KPIs, the Sustainable Development Goals, CO2 scope, climate risk analysis, proxy voting, climate risk disclosure and upcoming regulation.

Choose from three upcoming sessions, with options for time zones in the U.S., Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions and review the full course outline.
Inside the Office at Four Twenty Seven

Director, Sales - Jackie Willis

Four Twenty Seven welcomes Jackie Willis as Director, Sales in New York. Jackie leads Four Twenty Seven’s business development and growth strategy in the eastern United States. Jackie has spent the majority of her career in analytical and portfolio management roles in corporate and municipal finance, in the securities and banking industries at institutions such as Prudential Capital Management, TIAA-CREF, TD and Wachovia (now Wells Fargo). Most recently, she served as a Solution Specialist covering the commercial and industrial (C&I) and commercial real estate (CRE) credit risk models for Moody’s Analytics.

Join the team! 

Find open positions on our Careers page and visit Vigeo Eiris' and Moody's Careers pages for more opportunities in climate change and ESG.
Upcoming Events

Join the team online at these upcoming events and check our Events page for updates, including links to events not yet available:

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Moody’s: U.S. Nuclear Operators Exposed to Physical Climate Risks

Increasing physical climate hazards affect the operations and costs of nuclear plants due to their water needs and reliance on critical equipment. In its report, Nuclear Operators Face Growing Climate Risk but Resiliency Investments Mitigate Impact, Moody’s Investors Service leverages Four Twenty Seven’s physical climate risk data to explore the exposure of nuclear power plants to climate hazards, including heat stress, water stress, flooding and hurricanes.

The analysis found that nuclear power plants are vulnerable to increasing frequency of extreme weather conditions such as flooding and storm surge, due to their need for water cooling which means many plants are adjacent to large bodies of water. Technology and equipment required for safe plant operation are susceptible to damage and nuclear plants along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico are particularly exposed to floods from sea level rise.

Clustered in the Midwest and eastern part of the U.S., market-based plants face less risk of hurricanes or sea level rise than regulated/cost-based plants. However, they face increased heat stress and water stress which can reduce plants’ cooling capacity. The credit impact for market-based plants can be more significant than the regulated plants that are more easily able to make-up costs through rate recovery programs.

Nuclear plant operators face physical and economic risks due to extreme events driven by climate change, and operators and owners will have to consider these risks and explore increased resilience options, as they approach license expiration and renewal processes between 2030 and 2050.

Moody’s subscribers can read the full report here.

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To learn more about Four Twenty Seven’s climate risk data, check out our solutions for investors, banks and corporations or read our report on Assessing Global Wildfire Potential.