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Why BlackRock’s Larry Fink warns climate change is on the edge of reshaping finance

  • Sustainable investments that take into account climate change will deliver better returns, says BlackRock founder Larry Fink in his annual letter to chief executives.
  • The boss of world’s largest fund manager warned: “In the near future—and sooner than most anticipate—there will be a significant reallocation of capital.” “I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”
  • BlackRock, which has around $6.84 trillion of assets under management as one of the top index fund managers, is the world’s most powerful investor and has come under recent criticism for not doing enough to address climate change.
  • Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects.

BlackRock’s Climate Activism Has a Passive Problem

  • BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest fund manager with $7 trillion of assets, says it plans to “place sustainability at the center of our investment approach.” As environmental, social and governance issues become more pressing, especially for younger savers, it’s a savvy business move that will pressure its peers to follow suit.
  • “Our investment conviction is that sustainability- and climate-integrated portfolios can provide better risk-adjusted returns to investors,” he writes.
  • BlackRock’s annual investment stewardship report, for example, shows that in the year to mid-2019, it interacted with 256 companies on “environmental risks and opportunities.”
  • While more than 80% of those discussions were on climate specific risks, the firm voted in favor of just four shareholder proposals pressing U.S. companies to implement policies designed to prevent the average global temperature from increasing by more than 2 degrees Celsius.

Why Climate Denial Survives While Australia Burns

  • By September, this group, who called themselves the Emergency Leaders for Climate Change, issued a public statement, asking why the conservative government still hadn’t set a date to meet with them.
  • Climate change denialism has lingered for far too long in Australian popular culture, thanks to a conservative government that has spun the tale to its advantage and to the way information has filtered through one of the world’s most monolithic media markets.
  • Ketan Joshi, a communications consultant currently writing a book on climate change denialism in Australia, has finally seen a shift recently.

Why Australia is burning

  • Both are evidence of growing climate volatility, confirming the reality of global warming.
  • In assigning blame for the fires, however, some critics — including the editorial board of the Financial Times — have lazily pointed a finger at climate denialism.
  • Moreover, the armchair critics have chosen to disregard the long lead times between greenhouse-gas emissions and climate change, and to overstate what we know about the links between global warming and specific weather events.

Australia bushfires are harbinger of planet’s future, say scientists

  • This really brings home what climate change means.” Average temperature rises in Australia were about 1.4C above pre-industrial levels before this season’s fires, showing a more rapid rate of heating than the global average of 1.1C.
  • Scientists warn that beyond a rise of 2C, the impacts of climate breakdown are likely to become catastrophic and irreversible, yet current global commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris agreement are estimated to put the world on track for 3C of heating.
  • “Climate change increases the frequency and severity of fire weather across the globe but humans have moderated how this risk translates into fire.

‘No doubt whatsoever’: Experts claim climate change causing Australia to burn

  • Australia contributes just 1.3 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions, though it is the second-largest emitter per capita after the United States.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor say Australia does not need to cut carbon emissions more aggressively to limit global warming, pointing out it has beat its emissions reduction targets for 2020.
  • They have faced criticism from climate protesters who have dubbed Morrison a “fossil fool”, while the opposition Labor party has called for more resources to prepare for and prevent fire disasters.

No more excuses for lack of cooperation in Olympia on climate change

  • As we have in previous legislative sessions, we will continue to work to pass several important climate bills this session while encouraging legislators — both Democrat and Republican — to support policies that protect people and birds from the worst effects of climate change.
  • While this might make sense in the normal course of things, we aren’t living in “normal times.” The impacts of the climate crisis are clear, here in our backyard and around the world.
  • Audubon’s research shows that if we don’t cut emissions 45% by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by midcentury, two-thirds of North American birds will be vulnerable to extinction.

Australia's massive fires could become routine, climate scientists warn

  • Although Australia’s government and parts of its media have attempted to downplay the role of man-made climate change in making the country more vulnerable to wildfires, a review of 57 scientific papers published since 2013 suggested clear links.
  • “We’re not going to reverse climate change on any conceivable timescale.
  • So the conditions that are happening now, they won’t go away,” Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts Research at Britain’s Met Office Hadley Centre, who co-authored the review, told a news conference in London on Monday.

Australia's wildfires provide a scorching warning on climate change to the rest of earth

  • Among global-warming skeptics, it used to be popular to mock environmentalists and climate scientists as Chicken Littles, forever frantic that the sky was falling.
  • No, climate change doesn't start wildfires.
  • But its twin symptoms of persistent drought and hot weather create tinder-like conditions — particularly in southeast Australia with a climate not unlike that of California — and allow wildfires to rage out of control.

Edition for 14 January 2020

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