Investments in fossil fuel companies face serious risk from global warming, research by the Economist Intelligence Unit shows
The future is grim for private holdings in fossil fuel companies over action – or inaction – around climate change. Photograph: Daniel Reinhardt/EPA
Friday 24 July 2015 13.28 EDT
Private investors stand to lose $4.2tn (£2.7tn) on the value of their holdings from the impact of climate change by 2100 even if global warming is held at plus 2C, a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has warned.
If firm action is not taken at the forthcoming climate change talks in Paris and the Earth’s temperature warms by a further 5C then investors are facing losses of almost $7tn at today’s prices, new research shows.
This is more than the total current market capitalisation of the London Stock Exchange with impacts on company holdings that will come not just through extreme weather damage but also through lower economic growth.
The report argued that financial regulators should properly recognise “systematic environmental risk”. It also called for a proper carbon price to be established as well as a tough new climate change treaty to be agreed in Paris.
The latest assessments of the rising risks posed to the global financial system lends enormous new weight to those who are already arguing that companies must be made to disclose their carbon emissions.
“Investors currently face a stark choice. Either they will experience impairments to their holdings in fossil fuel companies should robust regulatory action on climate change take place, or they will face substantial losses across the entire portfolio of manageable assets should little mitigation be forthcoming,” said Brian Gardner, the editor of an EIU report, entitled The cost of inaction: recognising the value at risk from climate change.