Rising Sea Levels

This Economist article illustrates the consequences of rising sea levels. The science is simple enough: oceans cover 70% of the Earth’s surface but this number is rising because of global warming. Millions of people are vulnerable, and it is estimated the damage to coastal cities alone could be $1tn per annum by 2050. If the Paris Agreement goal of limiting the increase in average temperature above pre-industrial levels to 1.5 degrees C is missed, the cost of global damage could approach 2% of GDP per annum. The article notes that “As with all climate-related risks, governments and businesses have little incentive to work out how susceptible they are”. The timescales involved encourage people to ignore the problem. Fortunately, the math suggests an attractive ROI – actuaries calculate that investing $1 in climate resilience today will save $5 in losses tomorrow. With so much of the world’s bond markets yielding negative returns there would appear to be the necessary pool of long-term capital ready to be tapped into. While the physical risks are clear, the opportunity for growth in the inevitable transition seems huge. Equity owners should also be encouraged by the greater transparency required of businesses via TCFD reporting.

The Economist:
One way or another the deluge is coming »