Amid Climate Crisis, Big Business Keeps Eye on Prize: Profit

From Common Dreams:

Investors and fossil fuel companies are slowly coming to acknowledge the reality of planetary climate change, but don’t expect solutions from their quarter

Jon Queally

Though the politicians continue to deny its possibility, some of the world’s largest corporations (many of them also its biggest polluters) are already planning for the likelihood of a carbon tax or other financial penalty for industry-generated emissions that are leading the globe towards climate catastrophe.

As the New York Times reports on Thursday:

A new report by the environmental data company CDP has found that at least 29 companies, some with close ties to Republicans, including ExxonMobil, Walmart and American Electric Power, are incorporating a price on carbon into their long-term financial plans.

Both supporters and opponents of action to fight global warming say the development is significant because businesses that chart a financial course to make money in a carbon-constrained future could be more inclined to support policies that address climate change.

In a related but separate development, Inside Climate News reported earlier this week how Bloomberg financial services has introduced a new tool for professional analysts and traders who are already calculating how “companies might fare in the carbon-constrained economy” if and when some of the world’s largest energy companies are forced to leave untapped fossil fuels reserves in the ground.

As ICN’s Elizabeth Douglass reported:

In a move that underscores Wall Street’s growing unease over the business-as-usual strategy of the world’s fossil fuel companies, Bloomberg L.P. unveiled a tool last week that helps investors quantify for the first time how climate policies and related risks might batter the earnings and stock prices of individual oil, coal and natural gas companies.

The company’s new Carbon Risk Valuation Tool is available to more than 300,000 high-end traders, analysts and others who regularly pore over the stream of information that’s available through Bloomberg’s financial data and analysis service. The move significantly broadens and elevates the discussion of “stranded” or “unburnable” carbon reserves—expanding it beyond climate groups and sustainability investors to the desks of the world’s most active and influential investors and traders.

“It demonstrates that there’s demand for the information—more and more investors are interested in these issues,” said Ryan Salmon, senior manager of the oil and gas program at Ceres, a nonprofit that organizes businesses, investors and public interest groups interested in climate change and other issues.

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