Audio Blog: Latest Innovations in ESG Investing

Colin Shaw at Sustainatopia discussing ESG investing
From left to right: Colin Shaw, Jason Escamilla, Catharine Banat, Megan Fielding, and Andrew Olig

Four Twenty Seven’s Director of Finance, Colin Shaw, was recently invited to be a part of a panel titled “Latest Innovations in ESG” at Sustainatopia on May 8th, 2017.

The panelists discussed the increasing awareness of investors in their options to invest responsibly, and breaking down the preconception that ESG investing sacrifices financial returns. Colin presented on the tools to used measure climate risk in financial portfolios, and the need that Four Twenty Seven sees for more climate data in order to better provide guidance to businesses for their risk management and adaptation planning. The other panelists included:

  • Andrew Olig, Regional Vice President of Calvert Mutual Funds
  • Megan Fielding, Senior Director, Responsible Investment at TIAA Investments
  • Catherine Banat, Impact Investing at RBC Global Asset Management
  • Jason Escamilla, CEO of Impact Labs

Listen to the entire engaging panel recording below.

Proadapt Symposium on Climate Risk and Investment

On April 20, 2017, Proadapt hosted the symposium “Climate Risk and Investment: Framing Private Challenges and Opportunities” a conference to discuss common challenges and emerging investment opportunities in climate resilience. Emilie Mazzacurati, Four Twenty Seven founder and CEO, joined the symposium to discuss what climate change means for the financial sector, and innovative ways that funding for climate-resilient projects can be achieved.

Emilie first spoke on the second panel of the event, “Climate Resilience and Emerging Tools for Financial Institutions”, highlighting the recent moves by financial regulatory groups and institutional investors to promote climate risk analysis and disclosure, as well as ways to overcome the challenges of translating climate data into business intelligence.

Joining Emilie on the panel was Wagner de Siqueira Pinto, executive manager of the Strategy and Organization Directorate of Banco do Brasil; Jerri Ribeiro, leader of PwC Brazil´s Risk Consulting practice; and Jennifer Burney, Assistant Professor at the University of California San Diego.

Later in the day, Emilie moderated a panel on “The Role of Blended Finance in Promoting Climate Resilience”, a lively discussion on methods to create new funding mechanisms to leverage public and philanthopic funding in order to raise private capital for environmentally-beneficial projects.

Speaking on the panel was Stacy A. Swann, CEO and Partner, Climate Finance Advisors; Joan Larrea, CEO of Convergence; Virginie Fayolle, Senior Consultant and the Climate Finance Lead, Acclimatise; and Stephen A. Morel, Global Energy Contractor, (OPIC).

Emilie capped the day at Proadapt by providing a few key thoughts on how she and Four Twenty Seven see the demand for climate resilience work in the future, including how companies are looking to see how climate data can be used to identify new opportunities as markets change.

Newsletter: BlackRock Worries about Climate Change. Trump Doesn’t.

 

 

Mounting concerns over climate risk in financial markets.


Four Twenty Seven Climate Solutions

French, Australian, and Canadian Financial Regulators: Climate Risk a Material Concern

The French Treasury, the Banque de France and the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (the equivalent of the SEC) released a joint report on climate risk in the banking sector. The report, required under Art. 173, maps the transmission channels of physical risks to financial impacts on banks (see figure) and outlines areas of further work to better understand the French banks’ exposure, especially through their client portfolio.

The report asserts that immediate exposure seems to be limited due to good insurance coverage of assets in banks’ portfolios, but recommends studying scenarios where insurance coverage for natural disasters might become more expensive or unavailable. Furthermore, the report highlights the need to better understand the risk embedded in potential pockets of vulnerabilities, e.g. in emerging countries or locally for SMEs, as well as model the local economic impacts from climate change and indirect macroeconomic effects on corporate credit risk.

France joins multiple other countries in addressing concerns of financial climate risks. Recently, Geoff Summerhayes, Executive Board Member of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, delivered the financial regulation group’s first major speech on climate change at the Insurance Council of Australia’s annual forum in Sydney. The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, Timothy Lane, also gave a speech on their growing climate change concerns, warning that global warming could cost Canada as much as $43 billion a year.

Learn more about tools and methodologies to assess climate risk exposure in financial portfolios.

Trump Executive Order Worsens Risk from Climate Change for Business & Communities

The Executive Order (EO) signed by President Trump on March 28 aims to unravel many critical components of U.S. climate policy, mandating Federal agencies to rewrite the Clean Power Plan, lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and remove the requirement that federal officials consider the impact of climate change and integrate the social cost of carbon when making decisions. The EO opens the door to years of litigation as a number of the regulations it seeks to remove are mandated by law, as is for example the EPA’s obligation to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The EO also rescinds a previous Executive Order from the Obama administration, EO 13653, that directed federal agencies to plan and prepare for the impacts of climate change, and to support communities across the nation in their effort to improve preparedness and resilience. EO 13653 was the driving force behind critical efforts from NOAA, NASA, HUD and others, including the Climate Data Initiative, the Climate Resilience Toolkit, and many other outreach and engagement program from the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The rescission of EO 13653, coupled with the threat of deep budget cuts for the agencies that support climate science and adaptation programs, puts at threat the very tools and resources communities across the US rely on for vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning.

A research note from our colleagues at the Rhodium Group highlights the long term impacts on US emission trajectory from the Trump EO. Their modeling shows that the US might still meet its 2020 target due to the policy inertia as well as low gas prices, but that US emissions would stay flat after that, falling well short of the reductions needed to meet the US’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. Previous research from the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) showed that even if all countries met their Paris commitment, the world would still fall short of meeting a 2 degre target. The odds of keeping global warming under 2 degrees dropped further with the policy direction set by the Trump administration.

For investors and corporations concerned over climate risk, the Trump administration worsens the outlook for both physical risk and energy transition risk. On the one hand, the EO may indirectly cause an increase in the frequency and severity of expected physical impacts from climate change, by failing to reduce GHG emissions. On the other hand, the reality of climate change could prompt a policy reversal by a new administration in 4 or 8 years, triggering an accelerated energy transition with an increased risk of a market shock for energy-intensive industries compared to a more gradual decarbonization.

Audio Blog: The Changing Landscape of Climate Risk Disclosures (Panel)


Listen to the recording of a panel discussion held at the 2017 Climate Leadership Conference on March 1, 2017 on “The Changing Landscape of Climate Risk Disclosure.” The panel featured:

  • Laline Carvalho, S&P Global;
  • Tim Dunn, Terra Alpha Investments LLC
  • Emilie Mazzacurati, Four Twenty Seven
  • Mardi McBrien, Climate Disclosure Standards Board
  • Richard Saines, Baker McKenzie LLP

Panelists shared how they are responding to the new regulatory context, challenges and opportunities arising from understanding climate impacts on business and markets, and expectations for further developments.

BlackRock Expects “Demonstrable Fluency” on Climate Risk from Portfolio Companies

BlackRock made headlines on climate risk again as it announced that enhanced climate risk disclosures will be an area of focus for its investment stewardship team. The world’s largest asset management firm, with $5.1 trillion under management, holds stock in most major US companies, and has been consistently stepping up its engagement on climate change and pressing the corporate leadership from companies it invests in to hold a long-term view of value creation and strategy.

BlackRock specifically announced it will encourage companies to adopt the reporting framework laid out by the FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Risks, giving a major market boosts to the TCFD recommendations. BlackRock pointed specifically to oil producers and mining companies, but also to real estate companies, which might hold properties exposed to sea level rise.

All Swans Are Black in the Dark: 2dii Report

Why is the financial sector failing to tackle climate risks? The drivers are complex and deeply embedded into the core of how financial markets function. 2° Investing Initiative, with support from the Generation Foundation, has been exploring in great depth the systems, processes and culture that stand in the way from long-term thinking on financial markets. They recently released two reports, “All Swans Are Black in the Dark” and “The Long and Winding Road” examining why the global finance sector is failing to tackle climate risk (depicted above from a presentation from 2dii, and also summarized in an excellent Green Biz article).

The reports find that analysts and credit ratings are focusing their forecasts on the short-term, 3-5 years out, and continuing to ignore long-term financial risks and opportunities such as those from climate change, the energy transition and disruptive low carbon technologies. This leads to widespread asset mispricing and a major blindspot for potential black swan events. The reports also find that even long term investors, like pension funds, only hold assets on average for 2-3 years, removing the incentive for analysts to look at the long term risks and opportunities for underlying assets.
The reports emphasizes the importance of current efforts to address short-termism and the lack of climate risk analysis, in particular the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and BlackRock.

Climate Risk & Investment Symposium

Join Four Twenty Seven CEO Emilie Mazzacurati and Director of Advisory Yoon Kim, PhD at a symposium on “Climate Risk and Investment: Framing Private Challenges and Opportunities.” The conference, organized by ProAdapt, will takes place on April 20, 2017 in Washington, DC and host a discussion of common challenges and emerging investment opportunities in climate resilience with thought leaders and practitioners.

Emilie will join a panel on “Climate Resilience and Emerging Tools for Financial Institutions,” exploring climate risk from the perspective of financial institutions, as well as emerging models, analysis and metrics to quantify climate risk and identify opportunities to invest in resilience. The event is organized by ProAdapt, a program of the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank, in partnership with the Nordic Development Fund.

Download the Symposium agenda

Today! Webinar: Incorporating Climate Adaptation in Local Plans

March 29th at 10am PST

Register Today

There is still time to join our webinar on “Incorporating Climate Adaptation into Local Plans”, starting today at 10am PDT. Co-hosted with the California Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA) and the CA Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, the webinar will discuss the requirements and timeline for the implementation of California’s Senate Bill 379. SB 379 calls on cities and counties to incorporate adaptation and resilience strategies into local hazard mitigation plans and the safety element of general plans. Director of Advisory Services Yoon Kim will join the panel to share replicable strategies and good practices from Four Twenty Seven’s work with six cities in Alameda County.

Upcoming Events

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

  • March 29Webinar: Incorporating Climate Adaptation in Local Plans co-hosted with ARCCA. See above for details.
  • April 6-76th Stranded Assets Forum, Waddesdon Manor, UK: Meet with CEO Emilie Mazzacurati to discuss the use of asset data to measure financial climate risk.
  • April 20: The ProAdapt Symposium, Washington, DC: see above for details
  • April 20: UC Philomathia Forum, Berkeley, CA: Director of Finance Colin Shaw will join a panel on how startups are using data science to advance environmental sustainability.
  • April 22March for Science, the Four Twenty Seven team will join the March for Science to support the science and data community and to call for evidence-based policies in the public interest.
  • April 26-27: Ceres Conference, San Francisco, CA: Meet Emilie Mazzacurati to learn more about Four Twenty Seven’s services for investors.
  • April 29: People’s Climate March – the Four Twenty Seven team will join the March aimed to to promote solutions to the climate crisis that are rooted in racial, social and economic justice.
  • May 7-10Sustainatopia, San Francisco, CA: Emilie Mazzacurati will present on how investors approach the physical risks of climate change.
  • May 9-11: National Adaptation Forum, St. Paul, MN: Yoon Kim will present on a panel on Innovations in Adaptation Finance, and Aleka Seville will co-facilitate a pre-conference workshop to discuss findings from the ongoing Climate Adaptation Portfolio Review for the Kresge Foundation.
  • May 25: Silicon Valley Energy & Sustainability Summit, Redwood Shores, CA: Join Emilie Mazzacurati to discuss corporate climate risk and resilience strategies.

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Case Study: Integrating Climate Risks into Local Planning in Alameda County

Integrating climate change considerations into local planning processes can be a daunting task. Climate data is complex, fragmented, and comes in a format and at a scale that does not necessarily speak to planners and GIS analysts. More importantly, interpreting climate projections and integrating it into planning and policy processes requires a nuanced understanding of climate models as well as local governments’ inner workings.

Four Twenty Seven has developed a streamlined process to support local governments in their efforts to integrate climate risk into key planning efforts: local hazard mitigation plans, general plans, climate action plans, etc. Our services blend modeling and data integration with policy analysis to help cities and counties develop adaptation strategies that address their most critical risks and leverage local strengths and community needs.

This case study presents Four Twenty Seven’s work for six cities in Alameda County, funded by the Alameda County waste authority StopWaste, to respond to California’s Senate Bill No. 379 Land Use: General Plan: Safety Element (Jackson) (SB 379). SB 379 requires cities in California to incorporate adaptation and resilience strategies into General Plan Safety Elements and Local Hazard Mitigation Plans starting in 2017. For each city, Four Twenty Seven developed a chapter that responds to these requirements by providing a climate hazard exposure analysis and proposing a set of adaptation options to help each city plan for future conditions.

Project Objectives

  • Support participating cities meet the requirements of:
    • Relevant state legislation
    • Federal Emergency Management Agency guidance
    • Voluntary Commitments (Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy)
  • Facilitate linking of climate change components of relevant planning processes
  • Promote a consistent approach to integrating climate hazards into diverse local planning processes
  • Empower cities to use the climate change chapter to meet specific needs
  • Position cities for federal funding

Project Background

Alameda County

Alameda County is located in the east San Francisco Bay, stretching from the shoreline of the Bay east across the Berkeley and Oakland hills. Due to its location, the county is exposed to a variety of climate hazards including sea level rise, inland flooding, temperature and precipitation changes, wildfire, and rainfall-induced landslides. While some cities in the County have robust plans for climate adaptation, others lack the targeted information to consider climate in a tangible, actionable way in their City planning.

Hazard Assessment

Floodplains in Hayward California
Figure 1. Exposed assets in the 500-year floodplain (red) in Hayward, California. Source: Vizonomy, Four Twenty Seven

For the hazard exposure assessments, Four Twenty Seven leveraged our partner Vizonomy’s platform to overlay regional climate hazard data with asset location data from public sources and the cities themselves. The overlay of hazard layers and asset location informed an identification of how sea level rise, flooding, fire and landslide might affect specific assets and/or the city overall. Four Twenty Seven also modeled city-specific projections of future temperature and precipitation changes using downscaled climate data, and our partner, Cadmus, conducted a review for compliance with FEMA requirements.

Adaptation Actions

Four Twenty Seven used the results of these assessments, together with a review of existing city plans and the draft SB 379 guidelines from the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, to develop a set of adaptation actions that cities may use to inform relevant plans addressing these hazards.

Project stages

The actions identify adaptive policies and projects and provide information on potential implementation partners, potential funding sources, timeframe, ease of implementation, co-benefits, and equity considerations.

Streamlining Adaptation Planning

Our process supports cities and counties in integrating climate change risks and adaptation into current planning processes to align goals, promote efficiency, and leverage resources. Understanding that each city or county operates in a unique context, we work closely with relevant stakeholders to provide services that meet relevant policy requirements as well as address local needs and circumstances.

We can help you identify and prioritize actions to improve resilience in your community.

Contact: Yoon Kim, PhD., Director of Advisory Services – ykim@427mt.com – 415.890.9090


Download the case study PDF

Market Analysis of Adaptation and Resilience Investment Opportunities

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

Newsletter: Investing in Climate Resilience – Report Launch and COP22 Side Event

 

 

News and analysis on climate change adaptation.


Four Twenty Seven Climate Solutions

Marrakesh Side Event: Private Sector Perspectives on Climate Resilience

Four Twenty Seven invites you to join a side event:  “Private Sector Perspectives on Climate Resilience”, co-hosted with the Inter-American Development Bank and the Global Adaptation & Resilience Investment (GARI) Working Group.

Bringing together thought leaders from the private sector and international financial institutions, the panel will examine challenges and opportunities facing private actors in the arena of climate resilience. Four Twenty Seven founder and CEO Emilie Mazzacurati will present on private sector contributions to building economic and social resilience.

The panel starts on Monday, November 14th at 7:00pm at Le Meridien Hotel N’Fis in Marrakesh, with a cocktail reception to follow. See more event details and RSVP.

GARI Survey Shows 70% of Investors Ready to Invest in Resilience Now


The Global Adaptation & Resilience Investment Working Group (GARI) was launched at Paris COP21 in conjunction with the UN Secretary General’s A2R Climate Resilience Initiative. GARI brings together private investors and other stakeholders to focus on the practical intersection of investment and climate adaptation and resilience. At COP22, GARI and Four Twenty Seven have released “Bridging the Adaptation Gap,” a discussion paper focused on (1) Approaches to Measurement of Physical Climate Risk and (2) Examples of Investment in Climate Adaptation and Resilience.” Over 2016, GARI convened over 150 participants in a series of five meetings and conducted the 2016 GARI Survey, which received 101 responses from GARI participants and related stakeholders. “Bridging the Adaptation Gap” is based on the GARI meetings and 2016 GARI Survey.

427 Blog – From Policy to Markets: the New Climate Agenda

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States comes at a time where the world needs more engagement in climate policy, and threatens to derail the world’s efforts to keep global warning below 1.5 degrees. Four Twenty Seven CEO Emilie Mazzacurati details the effects to expect of a Trump administration on U.S. climate policy, but also how the financial landscape is already on the move towards a low-carbon economy, and how private investors can get involved with climate resilience projects as both an investment opportunity and a way to continue progress towards a resilient world.

Read the blog

What Role for Green and Resilience Banks in Emerging Markets?

Specialized financing vehicles, blended finance approaches and institutions – such as Green Investment Banks – can play a key role in helping to scale up financing to make our investments more resilient and climate-smart.  Launched at COP22, this policy paper explores the utility of the Green Investment Bank model in emerging and developing economies, including the opportunity for these specialized financing vehicles to help accelerate resilient infrastructure and complement international sources of development and climate finance.  Climate Finance Advisors was lead author on the report.

Read the report.

IFC: Climate-Smart Investment Opportunities in Emerging Markets

The IFC report, “Climate Investment Opportunities in Emerging Markets”, released on November 7 during COP22, highlights opportunities for the private sector to scale ‘climate-smart’ investments around the world. “There is, however, little information about current demand for adaptation investments by the private sector at regional or sectoral levels, especially short-term investments addressing adaptation needs that produce rates of return above a certain threshold,” emphasizes the report. The report adds governments play a key role in making businesses more aware of climate risks and boosting private sector engagement through and incentives, regulations, and public-private partnerships.

Meet the Team: Camille LeBlanc

Camille LeBlanc is Four Twenty Seven’s Chief Strategy Officer, charged with creating, communicating, and executing against the company’s strategic initiatives as well as providing leadership, management, and vision for the company’s critical operations. Camille has over 25 years of experience in creating next-generation content experiences as founder, investor, board member, and CEO of start-ups that are at the intersection of independent research, media, and technology. She brings to Four Twenty Seven extensive leadership and expertise in developing and growing innovative information-based businesses that range from global macro economic analysis and advisory services in financial markets to social content distribution platforms in consumer online publishing markets.

Learn more about Camille.

Four Twenty Seven in Marrakesh – Highlights

Here are some select events that CEO Emilie Mazzacurati and CSO Camille LeBlanc are taking part in during the COP.

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From Policy to Markets: the New Climate Agenda

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States comes at a time where the world needs more engagement in climate policy, and threatens to derail the world’s efforts to keep global warning below 1.5oC. Financial markets’ interest in low-carbon and resilience finance can help counter-balance the expected scaling back of U.S. engagement.

Trump’s Climate Agenda

Myron Ebell, a well-known climate denier, is on Trump’s shortlist for nominees to the EPA.
Myron Ebell, a well-known climate denier, is on Trump’s shortlist for nominees to the EPA. Source: New York Times

While Donald Trump as a candidate did not expound much on his views on climate policy beyond calling climate change “a hoax” and promising to revive the coal industry in the U.S., the Republican agenda on climate change is well established. Trump’s short list of potential nominees for EPA and Dept. of Energy seems to confirm his alignment with the most conservative aisle of the Republican party on all things climate and environment. We expect the impact of the Trump administration on climate policy to be three-fold:

First, we anticipate a hard stop or slow down of U.S. efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, starting with the Clean Power Plan, mired in court since 2015, but also including other environmental regulations on air, water and land conservation. The incoming administration will likely face legal challenges since the Supreme Court mandated the EPA to regulate GHG emissions under the Clean Air Act, but these typically unfold over years and the EPA can also count on industry-led lawsuits to help bring down some existing or in progress regulations.

Second, we expect a sharp budget cut for the EPA, but also for development aid related to climate change (the U.S. is an important contributor to development finance institutions like the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank) and grants and subsidies to support local government. The Obama White House has been instrumental in providing concrete support and resources on adaptation and resilience, in particular with the Climate Data Initiative and the Climate Resilience Toolkit – the future of these programs is now called into question. Trump may also consider cutting funds for critical agencies like NOAA and NASA, which could impact long term climate data collection and analysis, similar to what was experienced in 2013 with the ‘sequester’.

Third, the U.S. will likely shift from being a driving force for a strong global climate agreement to becoming a negative influence, that may provide an excuse for other countries to slow down their own efforts. While the future of the Paris agreement is not called into question even if the U.S. withdraws, the effectiveness of multilateral efforts will be undermined by the absence of the second largest emitter in the world at the table. It is unclear at this point if the EU and China can and will jointly take over that leadership role, but together they could provide a stabilizing influence and governments in both regions take climate change very seriously.

Market Forces At Play

However, many analysts have noted that even without policy support going forward, the transition to the low-carbon economy is already well underway. Trump is unlikely to succeed at reviving the coal industry with low natural gas prices, and renewables and low-carbon technologies have largely reached the point where they compete effectively with fossil fuel sources. Financial markets are providing steady support for new renewable and energy efficiency projects, with over $65.5B worth of green bonds issued in 2016 YTD.

The world needs to step up adaptation finance by over 400 percent.
The world needs to step up adaptation finance by over 400 percent. Source: WRI

The private sector’s support is also going to be needed for adaptation and resilience. Disengaging from climate policy at a time where each year breaks new heat records, and 2016 is already locked into being the hottest year ever on record does not bode well for the future. Mercer estimates climate change will cause $1.5 trillion of potential impact of climate on returns for portfolios, asset classes and industry sectors, and impacts on communities and human welfare will be even more devastating.

UNEP estimates the financing needed for adaptation will be at least $100B a year, while current adaptation funding from multilateral organizations hovers around $25B a year. While there is a strong consensus over the need to bring more private capital into adaptation and resilience investments, meaningful flows are yet to materialize.

Mobilizing Private Capital for Adaptation

In this context, the discussion paper released today by the Global Adaptation and Resilience Investment (GARI) working group brings welcome insights into how investors see opportunities and barriers to adaptation investments. GARI was launched at Paris COP21, in conjunction with the UN Secretary General’s A2R Climate Resilience Initiative, to bring together private investors and other stakeholders to focus on the practical intersection of investment and climate adaptation and resilience. At COP22, GARI released Bridging the Adaptation Gap, a discussion paper that summarizes the discussions of over 150 private investors and other stakeholders in 2016.

The paper confirmed a high level of awareness among participants, with 70 percent of private investors surveyed declaring they see both risk and investment opportunity from the impact of climate change. Seventy-eight percent of respondents thought evaluating the physical risk from climate change was “very important,” and over 60 percent confirming that they were already, in fact, considering climate risk in their investment portfolio. The lack of a common approach to measuring climate risk, however, was identified as a critical barrier, with respondents calling for a transparent, practical approach to assess physical climate risk.

Where are the investment opportunities in adaptation? GARI maps the opportunities in key sectors. Source: Bridging the Adaptation Gap discussion paper.
Where are the investment opportunities in adaptation? GARI maps the opportunities in key sectors. Source: Bridging the Adaptation Gap discussion paper.

GARI also brought attention to investors’ interest in opportunities for investments in adaptation and resilience. Seventy percent of participants indicated they would consider making investments that supported adaptation to climate change or climate change resilience now. The paper catalogs various investment types, including existing infrastructure, corporate, and fixed asset investments that support adaptation and resilience to climate change. Over 60 percent of respondent investors are considering investments today in resilient infrastructure and in companies whose products address the impact of climate change on water, agriculture, healthcare, energy, and financial services.

Conclusion

The engagement shown by GARI participants, which includes some of the largest financial institutions in the world, opens the door to bringing private investors into a number of adaptation opportunities in need of funding, such as developing and deploying new and existing technologies to help deal with the effect of drought in agriculture, better flood prevention, resilient retrofits to infrastructure and cool, efficient housing.

Not all adaptation projects are suited to private sector investments however, and banks will not replace governments in investing in social capital, development projects and lifting the most vulnerable out of poverty. But leveraging and guiding financial flows towards projects that enhance economic and social resilience create a win-win opportunity and a powerful way to continue to make progress towards a low-carbon and resilient world in spite of political headwinds.

by Emilie Mazzacurati

Newsletter: The Forgotten Victims of Hurricane Matthew

 

 

News and analysis on climate change adaptation.


Four Twenty Seven Climate Solutions

From the Desk of Emilie Mazzacurati

It would be easy to overlook the devastating impacts of Hurricane Matthews. With media and political leaders almost entirely focused on the presidential election, it can be hard to even get basic facts on the extent of the damages along the storm track.

Yet Haiti is going through its worth humanitarian crisis since the 2010 earthquake. Entire villages have been wiped out and many are left with nothing. As is so often the case, the most vulnerable countries are also the most exposed, reminding us that climate change remains a significant obstacle to the eradication of poverty and sustainable economic growth.

Even in the United States, the impacts have been much worse than anticipated, with over a dozen dead in North Carolina and crippling floods, in pattern of extremes becoming increasingly the norm.

Our responsibility in the wake of these events is to keep raising awareness of the need to prepare and adapt to climate impacts, and channel greater funding towards improving infrastructure and social resilience. Hurricanes will come back, and so will floods and heat waves and wildfires. It’s time to invest in resilience.


Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder and CEO

Impacts of Hurricane Matthew on Haiti

For a nation like Haiti, economic and social development is difficult enough without being in the path of a Category 5 storm. Hurricane Matthew crossed over the southern peninsula, near the coastal city of Jérémie, where a new highway and cell service had recently spurred business growth. Now they have to begin again. The country must also deal with multiple threats to recovery, ranging from a resurgence of cholera to chronic poverty.

Video: Michael Mann on the Link Between Hurricane Matthew and Climate Change

 

Dr Michael Mann on Democracy Now (Part I)

Dr. Michael Mann discusses the link between Hurricane Matthew and climate change

Hurricane Matthew and the trail of destruction left in its wake has rightfully received heavy news coverage, but a critical aspect of the storm has been underreported. Dr. Michael Mann speaks on Democracy Now to explain the unique nature of Matthew and its rapid intensification is due to the warming waters, both on the ocean surface and below, in the Caribbean. The Washington Post also wrote on: What We Can and Can’t Say About Climate Change and Hurricane Matthew.

Flooding From Hurricanes on the Rise, Regular Impact on U.S. Economy Likely

While the wind speeds of Hurricane Matthew slowed as it reached the Carolinas, its impact grew in the form of heavy rains and subsequent flooding. Analyses of historical data and climate models show that flooding from storms has become more frequent, and will continue to intensify as sea levels rise and a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture. By the end of the 21st century, New York could see repeats of Hurricane Sandy-level flooding, and the billions of dollars in damage that comes with it “as frequently as once every 23 years.”

Infographic: Climate Signals

This infographic from Climate Signals maps the pathways through which the increase in greenhouse gas in the atmosphere contributed to increased wind damages, increased flood risk for a hurricane like Hurricane Matthew.
http://www.climatesignals.org/headlines/events/hurricane-matthew-2016 

Financing Resilience Must be Local

“Chronic under-investment in infrastructure also affects a community’s ability to recover from disaster. Building back better should be a matter of “building in” resilience to future conditions. The first place to start is infrastructure,” write Stacy Swann of Climate Finance Advisors and Andrea Colnes of Vermont Energy Action Network, arguing for greater development of local or regional financing options. Climate-smart, resilient infrastructure will be crucial for communities to survive extreme weather events, and local financing options could be better suited to the specific and contextual local resilience needs.

Meet the Team: Josh Turner

Four Twenty Seven welcomes Josh Turner to the research team as a Climate Data Analyst, putting his expertise to use in working with data to assess specific climate risk assessments for clients. Josh is also tasked with curating datasets, applied data analysis, and developing written and visual materials for clients and stakeholders.

Before joining Four Twenty Seven, Josh worked with the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre at establishing a preliminary climate risk assessment for anticipatory humanitarian action in Lomé, Togo. Josh has extensive prior research experience on a variety of atmospheric phenomena including the hydrological cycle, the Urban Heat Island effect, aerosols, and the Great Plains Low Level Jet.

Learn more about Josh’s experience.

Upcoming Events

Join the Four Twenty Seven team in the field at these upcoming events:
  • October 19-21: Climate Strategies Forum, San Diego, CA – CEO Emilie Mazzacurati will be teaching a CCO bootcamp, Climate 202: Leveraging Climate Data & Tools
  • October 29 – November 2: American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Denver, CO: Meet with Director of Advisory Services Yoon Kim.
  • November 7-18: COP 22, Marrakesh, Morocco: Meet CEO Emilie Mazzacurati and CSO Camille LeBlanc at the Sustainable Investment Forum and other events focused on private sector and climate finance.
  • December 12-15: AGU 2016 Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA: Director of Analytics Nik Steinberg, Director of Finance Colin Shaw, and Climate Data Analyst Colin Gannon each will be presenting.

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Newsletter: Financing Resilience – The Next Challenge

 

 

News and analysis on climate change adaptation.


Four Twenty Seven Climate Solutions

From the Desk of Emilie Mazzacurati

As a long-time climate change professional, I am both elated by Friday’s announcement that the U.S. and China have officially joined the Paris Agreement, and a little sad that it was done so quietly. Where are the hurrahs? Where is the champagne? Taking stock of our collective accomplishments helps lay the foundation for future efforts, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes this was a time to recognize more visibly how far we’ve come on the climate policy front in the past year. Such are our political times…

But the most important is not the form. The U.S. and China are ready to roll up their sleeves and make good on their respective commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that is critically important. Our blog post discusses why a quick entry into force of the Paris Agreement is our collective best shot at reducing emissions, preventing the worst climate impacts, and investing into resilience.

Concrete action to prevent and prepare for climate impacts is very much the focus of this week’s newsletter. Our new Policy Brief provides a detailed analysis of California’s budget on climate adaptation and resilience, delving into the details of how the state is trying to make good on its policy commitments by providing enough funding and guidance to build resilience.

Money is indeed the nerve of war, and we also provide food for thoughts on resilience finance with the videos from the excellent White House Roundtable and recent C2ES webinar on this topic. Also, Kendall Starkman, who recently joined the Four Twenty Seven team, will be speaking on this topic at the Carolinas’ Climate Resilience Conference and at the Great Lakes Adaptation Forum. Her research focuses on lessons learned from successful energy efficiency financing mechanisms like PACE, and how these could be applied to resilient and green infrastructure. When it comes to climate adaptation and resilience, there is much to build on, if one knows where to look.


Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder and CEO

Blog Post: “Tipping the Balance: US and China Ratify Paris Agreement”

Late Friday night, China and the U.S. announced their ratification of the Paris Agreement. This momentous announcement tips the balance towards a quick entry into force of the Agreement, which is critical to begin to curb emissions. An early entry into force makes it more likely, but not certain by any means, that we can contain global warming below 2 Celsius degrees.

Read Four Twenty Seven’s analysis on the Paris Agreement

Report: How to Budget for Resilience

 

California is a leader on climate resilience and adaptation efforts in the U.S. Yet translating adaptation policy into clear budget priorities can be a challenge. Our latest Policy Brief provides a detailed analysis of California’s FY 2016-2017 budget with regard to adaptation and resilience spending, with an eye to lessons learned for other states and opportunities for improvement and clarification for future budgets.

Read more

Videos: Forums on Resilience Finance


Watch: C2ES Solutions Forum webinar


Watch: White House Forum panel discussion

Resilience finance has received notable attention in the civic space recently. On July 25, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) held a webinar in their Solutions Forum series, on the topic of Financing Climate Resilience, featuring a discussion on the challenges for government financing of resilience efforts, as well as strategies for engaging businesses to build resilience.

Four Twenty Seven also tuned into the White House Forum on Smart Finance for Disaster Resilience, held on August 3, which highlighted the opportunity to look outside government-centric solutions toward monetizing future risk.

California Adaptation Forum:
The Economic Impacts of Climate Change

The impacts of climate change on the economy are a growing concern for local decision-makers and businesses alike. In the session Assessing the Economic Impacts of Climate Change: Perspectives from City and State Government and the Private Sector, organized by Four Twenty Seven at the California Adaptation Forum, participants will learn more about projected impacts on the California economy, how businesses are preparing (or not) for climate impacts, and how the City of San Diego is approaching economic resilience.

Featuring Four Twenty Seven CEO Emilie Mazzacurati, Jamesine Rogers from the Union of Concerned Scientists and Cody Hoven from the City of San Diego, the panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities involved in assessing the economic impacts of climate change and the need to communicate these risks to diverse stakeholders to catalyze adaptation action. Four Twenty Seven Director of Community Adaptation Aleka Seville will moderate the panel and engage participants into an interactive discussion on how to build climate and economic resilience. (Sept. 7, 3-5pm)

The Four Twenty Seven team will also be available at the conference booth and during networking events.

A strong workforce is critical for resilience: as a sponsor of the Forum, Four Twenty Seven issued a statement in support of the right to unionize and committed to selecting hotels with fair labor practices for business travel. Read the full statement on the CAF hotel labor dispute.

From Energy Efficiency to Resilience Finance

Financing resilience requires innovation and thinking outside the box, but should also leverage existing knowledge and programs. At the Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference, held in Charlotte, NC, on September 12-14, Four Twenty Seven Senior Climate Adaptation Analyst Kendall Starkman will present the findings from her research on how successful energy efficiency financing mechanisms can be used for green storm water infrastructure and other distributed, resilient infrastructure.

Kendall’s presentation will identify key factors that influence the success of three energy efficiency financing programs in the United States (on-bill repayment, performance assessed clean energy (PACE) and performance contracting with energy services companies (ESCOs)), and present the decision-making framework she created for municipalities looking to incentivize private investment in GSI on existing commercial property. (Illustrated Presentations session: Sept.14 at 10:15am).

Four Twenty Seven is proud to be sponsor of the 2016 Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference.

Meet the Team: Kendall Starkman

Alejandra CalzadaKendall Starkman is a Senior Analyst in Four Twenty Seven’s Advisory Team, where she focuses on local government climate vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning.

Kendall specializes in translating technical information and data into compelling and actionable research and reports.

Her knowledge of regional and local government issues, planning processes, and her deep expertise in the water and emergency management sectors drive targeted policy recommendations for Four Twenty Seven clients, partners, and tools.

Learn more about Kendall’s expertise

Upcoming Events

Join the Four Twenty Seven team in the field at these upcoming events:
  • September 7-8: California Adaptation Forum (CAF), Long Beach, CA – Find CEO Emilie Mazzacurati, Director of Advisory Yoon Kim, Director of Community Adaptation Aleka Seville, and Sr Analyst Kendall Starkman at the Four Twenty Seven booth. Emilie and Aleka will present on the economic impacts of climate change (Sept 7, 3-5pm).
  • September 12-14: Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference, Charlotte, NC – Kendall Starkman will present on innovative mechanisms for resilience finance (Sept 14, 10:15am).
  • September 13-16: SOCAP16, San Francisco, CA – Meet with Chief Strategy Officer Camille LeBlanc.
  • September 20: Sustainable Investment Forum, New York City, NY – Meet with CEO Emilie Mazzacurati and CSO Camille LeBlanc.
  • September 20-22: Climate Knowledge Brokers Workshop, Golden, CO – Director of Analytics Nik Steinberg will lead a workshop on climate health modeling.
  • October 5-7: Great Lakes Adaptation Forum, Ann Arbor, MI – Yoon Kim will present on climate health and Kendall Starkman on resilience finance.

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Tipping the Balance: US and China Ratify Paris Agreement

Late Friday night, China and the U.S. announced that they formally joined the Paris Agreement. This momentous announcement tips the balance towards a quick entry into force of the Agreement, by the end of 2016 — if not by the end of September.

The Paris Agreement requires 55 percent of the 180 signatories to ratify or formally join, representing more than 55 percent of global emissions. The UNFCCC ratification status tracker, last updated as of Friday afternoon, counted 26 parties accounting for 39 percent of emissions.

26 Parties have ratified of 197 Parties to the Convention. Accounting for 39.06% of global GHG emissions.
Source: UNFCCC (accessed September 6, 2016)

China and the U.S. together are responsible for over 38 percent of global emissions, so their commitment pushed the emissions from signatories to 75 percent, well over the 55 percent threshold. Securing the missing 27 country signatures will be not a problem now that the U.S. and China have confirmed their commitment. The next wave of ratification is expected later this month, as countries gather in New York City for the annual General Assembly of the United Nations on Sept. 19.

Paris Agreement signed by President Barack Obama
Source: whitehouse.gov

The Paris Agreement announcement came late at night, on the eve of a long holiday weekend in the U.S., indicating that the Obama administration was eager to avoid media attention and not turn this decision into a presidential campaign talking point. The administration has consistently argued that the Paris Agreement was not a treaty since it did not impose any legally-binding constraint to the U.S. This interpretation ruffled feathers in Europe at the time the document was negotiated in late 2015, but enabled the administration to proceed with formally ‘joining’ the agreement with a signature from the President, without having to submit the document to ratification of the Senate.

Senate ratification (or lack thereof) had been the kiss of death for the Kyoto Protocol, and U.S. climate negotiators were intent to avoid involving the Republican-controlled Senate, which would undoubtedly oppose ratification. This accelerated procedure does, however, make the future of the Paris Agreement fully dependent upon the next U.S. President, since that same signature can be undone just as easily. Hillary Clinton has committed to pursuing current efforts from the White House to reduce GHG emissions and build resilience, while Donald Trump has made contradictory statements about climate science and announced he would pull out of the Paris Agreement if elected. Given current polls and forecasts for the November 2016 elections, we expect the U.S. will stand by its commitment to the Paris Agreement for the next four years.

Will It Be Enough?

The quick entry into force of the Paris Agreement is critical for many reasons. First, reducing emissions aggressively and early-on is the most effective way to prevent catastrophic impacts from climate change. Many scientists consider the commitments under the Paris Agreement to be insufficient to stop climate change. These commitments, known as “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs – or NDCs, without the “intended” for contributions announced after December 2015), are due to be updated every five years, which leaves the door open to more aggressive emission reductions in the future.

A joint study from the University of Maryland and the Pacific Northwest National Lab showed that the current emission reduction commitments, denoted “Paris – Continued Ambition” on the chart below had only a 50 percent chance to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. Countries would have to increase their policy ambitions and reduce emissions much more drastically to have a shot at keeping global warming in the 1.5-2-degree range. The 2 degrees of global warming threshold is considered by a majority of climate scientists the upper limit for global warming to avoid severe and irreversible consequences.

Emissions pathways and temperature probabilities
Source: UMD and PNNL joint study, Dec 2015.

The other reason for which a quick entry into force of the Paris Agreement could be a game changer is the amount of adaptation finance it could help unlock. The Agreement sets a goal of mobilizing $100 billion a year between 2020-2025 in climate finance, both for mitigation and adaptation. This money is much needed to engage in ambitious adaptation projects in developing countries, where the impacts of climate change are expected to be most harmful.

Towards Marrakech

Climate policy remains high on the agenda for global leaders — from the Paris Agreement to the G20 statement this weekend, which ‘reaffirmed’ the G20 countries’ commitment to address climate change through emission reduction policies and climate finance. The announcement from the US and China paves the way for growing momentum ahead of the next Conference of the Parties (COP 22) in Marrakech, Morrocco, with a renewed focus on implementation and adaptation.