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Financial Climate

Business & Economics Podcasts

Join host Alex Roth for conversations with the most insightful investors, innovators, and experts at the frontier of climate and finance. If you’re working to fight climate change, you know finance has become an essential tool. If you’re a finance professional, you know that an understanding of climate risk and the energy transition is becoming indispensable. The connection between climate and finance will only strengthen as we redeploy trillions in capital to keep Earth habitable.

Location:

United States

Description:

Join host Alex Roth for conversations with the most insightful investors, innovators, and experts at the frontier of climate and finance. If you’re working to fight climate change, you know finance has become an essential tool. If you’re a finance professional, you know that an understanding of climate risk and the energy transition is becoming indispensable. The connection between climate and finance will only strengthen as we redeploy trillions in capital to keep Earth habitable.

Language:

English


Episodes

Ep. 20: Corporate and securities law expert Emily Strauss on the potential and limitations of climate-related shareholder lawsuits

11/22/2023
In the last episode of this show, I had the privilege of talking with Elizabeth Burch and Adam Orford, two law professors from University of Georgia. They helped me to better understand many of the types of climate lawsuits that have proliferated in recent years. But there are so many varieties of climate litigation that there’s a whole other category we barely touched on, which has special relevance to the nexus of climate and finance. I’m talking about shareholder lawsuits brought under corporate or securities law. As before, I wanted to talk with an expert insider, but someone who has more objectivity and a broader perspective than a lawyer immersed in pending cases. My guest today is Emily Strauss. She’s a law professor at UC Law San Francisco. That’s the University of California law school that was formerly known as UC Hastings. She’s an expert in corporate law and securities and financial regulation, and some of her recent scholarly research spcifically explores patterns in climate-related shareholder litigation. I sat down with Emily to learn more about how these lawsuits relate to other types of climate-related shareholder advocacy and other types of climate lawsuits. I wanted to know what opportunities shareholder litigation might create to push corporations toward action on climate, and what limitations they may have as a tool for advancing environmental or social goals. Additional resources: Climate Change and Shareholder LawsuitsIs Everything Securities Fraud?Climate Change Litigation Databases

Duration:00:44:00

Ep. 19: Law Professors Elizabeth Chamblee Burch and Adam Orford discuss the recent proliferation of major climate lawsuits

11/1/2023
In recent years, as climate change has gained attention, there's been a proliferation of climate related lawsuits. They're based on a wide variety of legal theories. Some are brought under federal statutes like the Clean Air Act, others are brought under state statutes. Still others rely on common law, which is so old that it predates the widespread use of fossil fuels. Some of these lawsuits seem mainly symbolic. Others have been brought by state and local governments—inspired by the multibillion dollar tobacco litigation of the 1990s—seeking to hold fossil fuel companies liable for astronomical financial damages. The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University maintains a public database that tracks climate related litigation. The center reports 97 climate related cases filed just in the first 10 months of 2023, with well over 100 filed each year since 2017. And that's for the U.S. alone. To better understand all this, I thought about talking with some of the attorneys bringing or defending these lawsuits. But it seemed like a better idea to talk to experts with a more objective viewpoint than an attorney involved directly in a case. I also wanted to understand better where these climate change cases fit into the bigger picture of environmental law. I wanted to learn how they relate more broadly to the use of litigation to bring about change on major societal issues like opioids, or toxic waste or the spread of disinformation. Today I'm joined by two law professors from the University of Georgia School of Law. Elizabeth Chamblee Burch is an expert in complex civil lawsuits. Among her many publications on related subjects, she wrote a book in 2019, called Mass Tort Deals: Backroom Bargaining in Multidistrict Litigation. Adam Orford’s expertise is in environmental and climate change law and the energy transition. He's litigated complex environmental and energy cases in private practice. And besides his law degree, he has a Ph.D. in energy and resources. Other resources: Climate Change Litigation Databases Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change

Duration:00:37:22

Ep. 18: Attorney and climate entrepreneur Catherine Atkin on California's pathbreaking new greenhouse gas emission disclosure law

10/11/2023
The Paris climate agreement was designed to keep Earth habitable through a framework of national emission reduction commitments. But actual binding laws enforcing those commitments are still lagging behind. In response, many corporations have promised to reach net zero emissions voluntarily. Many have released plans of how they intend to do that. And consumers and investors have sought to hold them accountable. Despite some admirable progress, a lot of corporate commitments are based an incomplete patchwork of emission disclosures. And too often, companies’ climate plans are full of caveats, inconsistencies, and outright greenwashing. Federal governmental action to require rigorous climate disclosures is—at best—slow in coming. But California has found a brilliant workaround. If California were a country, it’s economy would be the fifth largest in the world. By passing a state law that affects companies doing business in California, the state can set a standard that companies are held to around the country and the world. On October 7, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill called the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act, championed by State Senator Scott Wiener. The law will soon require rigorous and standardized disclosures for a huge number of companies that do business in California. This episode’s guest, Catherine Atkin is an attorney, a climate entrepreneur, and the co-founder of a nonprofit organization called Carbon Accountable. She’s also a CodeX fellow at the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. State Senator Wiener’s office has described Catherine as the legal mastermind behind the new law. SB 353 TextCarbon AccountableCatherine Atkin Stanford CodeX Fellow bio

Duration:00:54:01

Ep. 17: Christopher Lowell of InnSure, on how insurance innovations can enable climate tech firms to scale, and help communities adapt to a changing climate

9/20/2023
InnSure is a nonprofit organization that fosters insurance-related innovations to address climate problems. Usually, we think of insurance as a tool for climate change adaptation—and it is. But InnSure also looks at insurance as an indispensable tool to help implement and scale emission-reducing technologies. I wanted to understand better why and how that is. I also wanted to learn about the enormous climate-related business opportunities emerging in the insurance industry, and how these relate to the set of transformative insurance initiatives commonly known as insurtech. This episode's guest, Christopher Lowell, is a Managing Director at InnSure. He has deep expertise and hands-on experience in the insurance industry. He worked as the Managing Director of Corporate Strategy and Research at Liberty Mutual. Among other insurance roles, he also set up and led an experimental insurance innovation lab inside The Hartford. https://innsure.org/https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-lowell

Duration:00:44:59

Ep. 16: Harvard Law and Economics Professor John C. Coates on his new book, The Problem of 12: When a Few Financial Institutions Control Everything

8/30/2023
More than ever before, advocates are pressuring private-sector companies to take action related to climate impacts. One thing that’s increased the potential effectiveness of these tactics is the tremendous concentration of corporate voting power in the hands of a small number of enormous asset managers. And at the same time, huge, secretive, private equity firms are amassing control of privately held companies, or are taking publicly-traded corporations private. Harvard Law and Economics professor John C. Coates has just released an insightful and thought-provoking book about the dangers and challenges of these investing trends. During his distinguished career, he was a partner at the leading Wall Street law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and he served at the U.S. the Securities and Exchange Commission in several roles, including as General Counsel. His new book is called The Problem of 12: When a Few Financial Institutions Control Everything. I sat down with John Coates to learn about the many problems stemming from this extraordinary concentration of corporate power. I was especially interested to understand what his arguments mean for the efforts of the activists and consumers pushing corporations to meet climate goals and uphold other standards of environmental and social responsibility.

Duration:00:52:53

Ep. 15: Planet Tracker CEO Robin Millington talks about using sophisticated financial tools to make markets more environmentally sustainable

7/26/2023
Robin Millington is the CEO of the London-based nonprofit financial think tank Planet Tracker. She talks about how her organization uses sophisticated financial tools to make markets more environmentally sustainable. https://planet-tracker.org/

Duration:00:35:38

Ep. 14: The effects of climate risk on insurance, property values, and real estate markets, with Ben Keys, a professor of real estate and finance at Wharton

7/5/2023
Ben Keys, a professor of real estate and finance at the Wharton School of Business talks about the effects of climate risk on insurance, property values, and real estate markets. Relevant Links: Ben Keys New York Times guest opinion on climate risk and homeowners' insuranceBen Keys Congressional testimonyhttps://firststreet.org/https://www.nber.org/papers/w27930

Duration:00:46:37

Ep: 13: Entrepreneur and climate risk expert Emilie Mazzacurati talks about the climate risk analytics company she founded, emerging opportunities in climate adaptation, and more.

6/14/2023
In 2012, Emilie Mazzacurati founded a company called Four Twenty Seven. It pioneered the practice of applying esoteric scientific climate models to help businesses manage climate risk. She sold the company to Moody's in 2019, and stayed on to manage it as Moody's Global Head of Climate Solutions. She's now working on a new venture related to climate mitigation. Emilie talks about the challenges of understanding and managing business climate risk. She discusses improvements in our ability to develop and apply climate data and the importance of doing so. She also shares insights on the lack of climate tech investment in adaptation and the breadth of entrepreneurial possibilities in the climate adaptation space. Relevant links: https://climate.moodys.com/https://www.caelistrategy.com/https://www.linkedin.com/in/emazzacurati

Duration:00:44:57

Ep. 12: Belizean Ambassador and UN negotiator Janine Felson discusses international climate finance and the critical climate challenges of small island states

5/24/2023
Ambassador Janine Felson is an expert on international climate finance frameworks and governance structures. She served as a senior diplomat from Belize to the United Nations. She contributed to crucial international negotiations, including the 2015 Paris climate agreement. She also held key roles as a negotiator and strategist on behalf of a coalition of countries facing extreme climate vulnerabilities—called the Alliance of Small Island States. Programming note: Going forward, to better accommodate the workload of producing this podcast, Financial Climate will run every three weeks, rather than every two.

Duration:00:50:15

Ep. 11: "Bond vigilante" and AFII CEO Ulf Erlandsson talks about how the bond market can accelerate decarbonization and help hold companies and governments accountable to climate goals.

5/3/2023
In 2020, Ulf Erlandsson founded a nonprofit activist think tank called the Anthropocene Fixed Income Institute, or AFII. Through sophisticated analysis of bond markets, the organization seeks to hold corporations and governments accountable to climate goals. Erlandsson worked for many years as a bond trader and fixed income portfolio manager, including on behalf of AP4, a Swedish public pension fund which currently manages the equivalent of more than $44 billion in assets. He also worked as a quantitative strategist at Barclays Capital. He holds a PhD in Economics from Lund University in Sweden. Anthropocene Fixed Income Institute (AFII) web siteAFII on LinkedInUlf Erlandsson on LinkedIn

Duration:00:45:39

Ep. 10: Dimitry Gershenson, co-founder and CEO of Enduring Planet

4/19/2023
Today's guest is Dimitry Gershenson, co-founder and CEO of Enduring Planet. Enduring Planet is a startup financial technology firm that lends to climate-focused businesses. It provides financing without the need for an equity stake, collateral, or personal guarantee from funding recipients.

Duration:00:30:21

Ep. 9: Energy analyst and strategist Kingsmill Bond on what the energy transition means for financial markets

4/5/2023
Today’s guest is Kingsmill Bond, a longtime equity analyst and strategist, who has provided insights on the energy industry on behalf of some of the largest banks and asset managers in the world. After recognizing the implications of the energy transition for financial markets, he went to work for the pioneering London-based nonprofit financial think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative. Still in London, he’s now a Senior Principal on the strategy team at the U.S.-based nonprofit RMI. Mentioned in/relevant to this episode: The Innovator’s DilemmaHow Big Things Get DoneCarbon Tracker InitiativeRMIKingsmill Bond web site

Duration:00:37:37

Ep. 8: Danny Cullenward on rethinking cap-and-trade policies, what's wrong with carbon offsets, and more

3/22/2023
In today's episode, climate economist and lawyer Danny Cullenward discusses Making Climate Policy Work, a book he wrote with coauthor David Victor. He talks about how structural political forces so often prevent cap-and-trade programs from working in practice the way they're supposed to in theory. He explains how industrial policy, usually thought of as less efficient than tradeable pollution permits, is often much more impactful in the real world. He also talks about the many problems with carbon offsets--in both compliance and voluntary markets. Cullenward is a Research Fellow with the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy at American University. He co-founded the nonprofit organization Carbon Plan and serves as vice chair of California’s Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee. Resources discussed in or related to this episode: Making Climate Policy Work, By Danny Cullenward and David G. VictorThis Timber Company Sold Millions of Dollars of Useless Carbon OffsetsRevealed: more than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by biggest certifier are worthless, analysis showshttps://carbonplan.org/https://frontierclimate.com/How Solar Energy Became Cheap: A Model for Low-Carbon Innovation, By Gregory F. NemetDanny Cullenward on Twitter

Duration:00:52:35

Ep. 7: Franz Hochstrasser, CEO of Raise Green

3/8/2023
Today’s guest is Franz Hochstrasser, CEO of Raise Green. Raise Green is an SEC and FINRA-registered online marketplace through which individuals and institutions can invest in startups and other private companies pursuing climate solutions. It serves as a vehicle for for-profit enterprises with a climate focus to raise money from small (as well as larger) investors. Note: Neither this podcast nor the host provide financial advice. Do your own diligence on financial decisions! Mentioned in this episode: https://greentownlabs.com/https://www.ctgreenbank.com/https://www.thecleanfight.com/https://www.raisegreen.com/https://wefunder.com/raisegreen/

Duration:00:39:27

Ep. 6: Bryan Garcia, CEO of Connecticut Green Bank

2/8/2023
Bryan Garcia talks about how Connecticut Green Bank has devised innovative financing tools to bring clean energy solutions to businesses and households. He explains how its programs have been designed to include people in lower-income and minority communities. We also talk about how green banks are evolving and expanding nationally, and how the tens of billions in new federal appropriations for green banks may be deployed. Mentioned in this episode: https://www.ctgreenbank.com/https://www.posigen.com/https://cbey.yale.edu/https://www.raisegreen.com/https://coalitionforgreencapital.com/

Duration:00:56:14

Ep. 5: Sylvia Leyva Martinez, of Wood Mackenzie, on the challenges and complexities of the solar industry’s current astronomical growth

1/25/2023
Sylvia Leyva Martinez, an expert on utility-scale solar at Wood Mackenzie, talks about the challenges and complexities of the solar industry’s current astronomical growth.

Duration:00:45:51

Ep. 4: Henry Sanderson on his book, Volt Rush: The Winners and Losers in the Race to Go Green

1/11/2023
Henry Sanderson discusses his book Volt Rush: The Winners and Losers in the Race to Go Green.

Duration:00:43:18

Ep. 3: Uday Varadarajan of RMI talks about the challenges and opportunities of shutting down America’s remaining coal-fired power plants

12/28/2022
Uday Varadarajan of RMI talks about the challenges and opportunities of shutting down America’s remaining coal-fired power plants.

Duration:00:37:52

Ep. 2: Sam Van den plas of Carbon Market Watch discusses the European Emission Trading System’s successes, failures, and challenges.

12/14/2022
Sam Van den plas, Policy Director of the European NGO Carbon Market Watch discusses the European Emission Trading System’s successes, failures, and challenges.

Duration:00:45:41

Ep. 1: Katherine Blunt discusses her book, California Burning: The Fall of Pacific Gas and Electric—and What It Means for America's Power Grid

11/30/2022
Katherine Blunt discusses her book, California Burning: The Fall of Pacific Gas and Electric–and What It Means for America's Power Grid.

Duration:00:45:29