Monday, June 18, 2007

Banking on Climate change's consequences

18 Jun 07
article from Climate Change Corp

Financial services providers are now addressing what climate change means for their businesses and providing risk assessment advice for their clients.

Climate change has taken centre stage in the finance world, as bankers focus on its implications. In a flurry of research, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, UBS and Merrill Lynch have all published major reports on the issue in the last six months. There is a remarkable consensus in the documents – climate change is on the agenda for governments, regulators, consumers and businesses and this is creating some major risks, but also opportunities.

Imboden outlines the concept of the “2,000 Watt Society”, which maintains that a country like Switzerland can survive on energy use of 2,000 watts per capita while still enjoying uninterrupted economic growth and an equivalent quality of life. To put this in context, he says, per capita energy consumption in Africa is 500 watts, in western Europe it is 6,000 watts, and in the US it is 12,000 watts.

Merrill’s Knight concludes, optimistically: “What has changed of late in our view is that the benefits of addressing environmental issues … are beginning to outweigh the costs.” Lehman’s dour conclusion is that if companies do not adapt to climate change, they may well not survive. And ultimately, what is bad for business is bad for their bankers.

More here

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So please, tell us what you think.

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