• Should Your Investment Strategy Incorporate a Climate Risk Discount?

    Consider these three recent developments: California emerged from drought in April 2017, fewer companies reported impacts associated with water scarcity[1], and the average freshwater intensity of companies in the MSCI ACWI Index dropped by 15 percent between 2015 and 2016[2]. While these are positive short term signals for investors concerned with water scarcity, 2017 was also the most costly in U.S. history for natural disasters[3]. This underscored the thinking behind a key trend that MSCI ESG Research identified in the beginning of 2017[4]: institutional investors are shifting their portfolio analysis from the measurement of regulatory risks, such as the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, to physical risks, such as exposure to coastal flooding along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

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  • A Bill of Rights for Clean Water

    The protection of our shared environment has long been among government’s most fundamental responsibilities. Ancient Rome’s Code of Justinian, one of the first efforts at constitutional governance, guaranteed to all citizens the use of the “public trust” or “commons” — those shared resources that cannot be reduced to private property, including the air, water, forests and fisheries. Throughout Western history, the first acts of tyrants have invariably included efforts to deliver public-trust assets into private hands. During the Dark Ages, when Roman law broke down in England, King John attempted to sell off the country’s fisheries, place navigational tolls on England’s rivers, and seize its woodlands and game animals. Enraged at that theft of public-trust assets, England’s people confronted John at Runnymede in 1215, forcing him to sign the Magna Carta. That seminal democratic document included a powerful articulation of the principle that the commons of water, fisheries and woodland were not commodities to be bartered away by a prince, but the rightful property of all citizens.

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  • Research Could Improve Management of Conflict Between Wildlife and Farmers Across the Globe

    A new study led by the University of Stirling highlights improvements in the way conflicts between wildlife conservation and farming are managed worldwide.

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  • Wind and Solar Could Meet Most But Not All US Electricity Needs

    Wind and solar power could generate most but not all electricity in the United States, according to an analysis of 36 years of weather data by Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira, and three Carnegie-affiliated energy experts: Matthew Shaner, Steven Davis (of University of California Irvine), and Nathan Lewis (of Caltech).

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  • Researchers Have Found a Link Between Earthquakes and Currency Jumps

    Mathematicians at HSE have successfully demonstrated the use of a Japanese model which detects seismic activity in predicting currency risks. The research results have been published in an article entitled Hawkes Processes for Forecasting Currency Crashes: Evidence from Russia.

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  • Small Gold Mines in Senegal Create High Mercury Contamination

    A Duke University-led study has found dangerously high levels of mercury and its more toxic chemical cousin, methylmercury, in soils, sediments and rivers near artisanal gold mines in the West African nation of Senegal.

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  • New map profiles induced earthquake risk for West Texas, New Mexico

    A seismic stress map created by Stanford geophysicists can help predict which parts of West Texas and New Mexico may be at risk of fracking-induced earthquakes. The map could guide oil discovery efforts in the region.

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  • Cleaner Ship Fuels Will Benefit Health, but Affect Climate Too

    Study finds cleaner ship fuels will reduce childhood asthma by 3.6 percent globally

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  • The potential impact of hydraulic fracturing on streams

    Concerns over hydraulic fracturing, an oil and gas extraction method that injects millions of gallons of freshwater and chemicals into shale, have largely focused on potential impacts on water quality. But, as scientists report in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology, “fracking” operations could have impacts on water quantity because they are withdrawing these large amounts of water from nearby streams, which house aquatic ecosystems and are used by people for drinking and recreation.

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