Here’s why climate change has become a ‘lightning rod for business and finance leaders’: report

Here’s why climate change has become a ‘lightning rod for business and finance leaders’: report
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Countless articles have focused on the environmental and safety aspects of climate change, especially in liberal and progressive publications. But Dino Rabouin and Amy Harder, in an article published by Axios on January 24, discuss and analyze climate change from a business standpoint — explaining that climate change has “suddenly become a lightning rod for business and finance leaders around the world.”

Drawing on data Axios received from the High Lantern Group, Rabouin and Harder report that climate change “generated the highest degree of public pressure on corporations by activists, policymakers and journalists” in 2019 — which was a 77% increase from 2018.

High Lantern’s data, according to Rabouin and Harder, “includes analysis of more than 6 million tweets.” Rob Gluck, managing partner for High Lantern, notes that “the vast majority of relevant public actors” are “using (Twitter) to communicate.”

“In recent months,” Rabouin and Harder observe, “the world’s foremost economic institutions have advocated for policies cutting greenhouse gas emissions. This trend is driven by a confluence of factors, including more extreme weather and greater public pressure.”

Institutions that have been discussing climate change, Rabouin and Harder point out, include “major central banks” as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). In a research paper released on January 20, BIS warned that climate change could cause “potentially extremely financially disruptive events that could be behind the next systemic financial crisis.”

According to BIS, “This complex collective action problem requires coordinating actions among many players, including governments, the private sector, civil society and the international community.”

IMF head Kristalina Georgieva, in a speech last week, asserted that the IMF “ought to begin to build standards for disclosure of climate risks” — and that includes “mandatory disclosure standards.”

Journalist Josh Holland addressed climate change’s financial costs in a September 2019 article for The Nation, stressing that a Green New Deal wouldn’t be nearly as costly as the effects of climate change. Holland noted that in a 2015 report, the Economist Intelligence Unit warned that “the asset management industry — and thus the wider community of investors of all sizes — is facing the prospect of significant losses from the effects of climate change.”

Rabouin and Harder also note that “BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, says it’s making climate change a pillar of its investment strategy, and even Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are calling for a price on carbon emissions.”

The Axios reporters emphasize, however, that “all this rhetoric should be scrutinized carefully and often” because “talking about supporting policies addressing climate change is quite different from actually doing something about it.”

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