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Wall Street Takes Al Gore's Cue on Climate Change
Mindy Lubber, 15 Oct 07
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Al Gore was, rightly, awarded with the Nobel Prize for bringing global warming to the public eye. Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) have done amazing work to advance the debate on climate change. But one sector where resistance seems to be vanishing almost as fast as Arctic ice is Wall Street, where goliaths like Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and Lehman Brothers are jumping into the global warming fray. Wall Street is taking the Gore/IPCC message further that the US government has to date by launching products and services that will lead to actual environmental improvements.

There has been a steady stream of Wall Street reports analyzing the business implications of climate change. A few of these reports have crossed my desk in just the past few weeks and they all have the same message: Climate change will have far-reaching financial implications, creating both enormous risks and opportunities.

Potential winners and losers from carbon-reducing regulations are an especially big hot topic. A report this summer from Citigroup went so far as to downgrade U.S. company stocks because of the adverse financial impacts that emerging US climate regulations will have on big coal producers.

And that's just one sign of the shift: some investment vehicles are also seizing opportunities from climate crisis -- tapping energy efficiency, renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies that stand to benefit as regulations that cap carbon dioxide emissions take hold worldwide. Among the funds that come to mind (and, please be aware, I am not endorsing any of them):

  • KLD Research and Analytics has launched a Global Climate 100 Index, a mix of 100 global companies selected for their involvement in renewable energy, future energy fuels, clan technology and energy efficiency. The index posted a 26 percent rate of return for the 12-month period ended Sept. 30.
  • Merrill Lynch recently launched an Energy Efficiency Index made up of 40 global companies in the auto, building materials, capital goods and semiconductor sectors that should benefit from improved energy efficiency. Merrill Lynch analysts project that the global manufacturing industry could improve its energy efficiency by 18-26 percent overall (and at the same time reduce the sector's CO2 emissions by 19-32 percent). "Energy efficiency remains an area that is relatively unexplored," said Asari Efiong, a Merrill Lynch equity analyst, in announcing the index this summer.

Even The Wall Street Journal is smelling green from climate change. Four years after starting its popular annual conference on technology, the media powerhouse announced last week that it will be expanding its conference franchise to include regular gatherings on business and the environment under the moniker "Eco:nomics." Among the speakers who have already agreed to participate in the first conference in March are the CEOs of Wal-Mart, Dow Chemical, Duke Energy and American Electric Power.

"This particular topic is, no pun intended, very hot right now," said L. Gordon Covitz, the Journal's publisher.

Now that may not win the Nobel Peace Prize, but it is progress!

Mindy S. Lubber is president of Ceres, a leading coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as global warming.

Image: Wall Street. Credit: flickr/Todd Cliff

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UK court says Gore is a fraud. August 2007 Update: Man-made Catastrophic Global Warming Not True. In order to be an intelligent reader you must have a basic knowledge. Please do your own homework, a starting point and Flawed NASA Global Warming data paid for by George Soros.

Posted by: Dr Coles on 15 Oct 07

Not judged a fraud!

Simply that nine (out of how many?) points made by 'An Inconvenient Truth' were unsubstantiated (ie speculative: no drowned polar bears could be exhibited). I actually regard the ruling as a *healthy* bit of criticism, unlike the above troll.

Posted by: Tony Fisk on 15 Oct 07



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