At the Asian Development Bank, which lends to governments and companies in Asia’s developing markets, Jay Roop is part of a team that oversees the construction of wharves, ports and roads around the Pacific region. To predict how projects might fare in future climate conditions, he and his team use 24 different climate models. The data they incorporate include melting rates of glaciers, historical ocean temperatures and rainfall, and information on local geography and water dynamics, which can affect storm surges. Most models don’t have data on the stability of Antarctic ice.
Mr. Roop consulted climate models to assess a wharf the Papua New Guinea government wanted to build. Many models suggested that, without climate-proofing, the wharf would be underwater within a few decades. The design was reconfigured so the wharf could be easily raised. That increased the cost by roughly 17%. Construction will begin in late 2019.
One-fourth of municipal borrowing is given a single grade, leaving smaller investors with less information
Municipal officials and advisers said fewer ratings help cities trim expenses and save time when they borrow money for everything from school construction to sewer repairs. Bond issuers typically pay rating firms to issue a report. But some analysts said opting for one grade from a single firm puts smaller investors at a disadvantage as less information circulates through the $3.8 trillion municipal market.
Cities and counties across the U.S. don’t have enough assets on hand to pay for all future obligations to their workers, but how deep this deficit looks depends on what those cities expect to earn on their investments. Moody’s and Fitch impose their own calculations of pension liabilities while S&P relies more on government-provided projections.
For an overview of how ESG is being implemented, check out Callan’s 2018 ESG survey and/or research in the Financial Analysts Journal. In a posting for Enterprising Investor, Christopher Merker lays out some challenges for ESG investing, including the need for better definition of standards and terminology, improving the quality of ESG information, and moving the focus beyond listed equities.
Consider green bonds, issued by governments, banks, municipalities and corporations. The bonds aim to negate the effects of climate change by financing “green” assets in energy, water, heavy industry and the like. Over the past 11 years, some $500 billion in green bonds have been issued, including $138 billion in 2018 through November, the Climate Bonds Initiative says.
On top of that, the money raised from green bonds isn’t linked directly to a specific project or property, so it is up to issuers to update investors on how the money is being used.
In the coming months, we call on governments, the global business community and financial executives to work with us to help build on these successes with three objectives in mind: First, mobilize public investments in combination with private capital flows to support vulnerable countries and communities. Second, ask companies how they manage climate risks while anticipating the opportunities of a low-carbon future. Third, promote standardized methods for climate-related disclosure and investment decision-making.