The Nobel Prize in Economics awarded in 2003 for studies on financial risks speaks. «The carbon tax – says Engle – is the most effective measure. The conflict will push Europe towards decarbonisation “
The new Fridays for Future global climate strike is set for 23 September and once again kids around the world will take the opportunity to remind us of the devastating prospects we face for the climate emergency. The Nobel laureate in economics Robert Engle agrees with them, opening with the intervention of him i Sustainability Days of Bolzano. Awarded in 2003 for his studies on financial risks, in recent years Engle has joined the management of the Volatility and Risk Institute at New York University, focusing on assessing the risks posed by the climate crisis.
Climate risks weren’t even taken into consideration by the financial world a decade ago, has anything changed now?
“Very very much. Climate risk is relatively new and therefore there are no time series, such as those used for other systemic risks, from recessions to energy crises, but it will have such enormous consequences that it has become the main risk we are facing, so finance also takes care of it. It will have an impact not only on the lives of entire populations, but also on the world economy and trade ”.
How will it affect our future?
«Climate risk comes in two main forms. On the one hand, the physical risks, with climatic instability, melting of ice, rising seas, floods, drought and ever higher temperatures. The second form is the transition risks, which we take to reduce our climate footprint through the decarbonisation of the economy, with the effect of slowing down some sectors and accelerating others ».
How to deal with these risks?
“Physical risks are the most difficult to model, because we don’t have long-term statistics. We have seen so many economic transitions, starting with the invention of the steam engine, but a climate crisis like the one we are witnessing is unprecedented. None of our economic models included temperatures, rainfall, or climate. To assess these risks we had to use new analytical tools ».
«The sectors that will be most affected by the physical risks of the climate crisis are agro-food and tourism, so Italy, which excels in both, will be at the forefront. It is in your interest to push the other countries as far as possible on the path of the Paris Agreement, otherwise you will have to face very high economic risks ».
And the risks of transition?.
“Transition risks can be modeled well, because we already have experience of economic transitions. The companies most affected will clearly be those in the fossil fuel sector, as they are primarily responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. It is therefore a question of creating portfolios that incorporate these risks, avoiding companies too exposed to fossil fuels, from oil companies to energy-intensive industries not yet decarbonised, and instead focusing on green companies, based on renewable sources, destined to appreciate as the crisis of the climate will become more evident ».CopyAMP code
What will become of companies too exposed to fossil fuels?
“In our ideal portfolio there is room only for green companies or transition leaders, that is, companies that invest heavily in green sectors and renewable sources to diversify their activities and not find themselves with the match in hand when their sector is outdated, as in the days of horse-drawn carriages replaced by cars and trains ».
What to do to push these companies to transition?
“We think investors can have a great influence by deciding to stake their money on the battle for the climate. Our studies are a way to help investors hedge against climate risks, but also regulators to do the same thing for banks and governments to move in this direction ».
What are the most effective economic measures in this regard?
«The most effective seems to me the carbon tax, which allows the economy to understand which is the least expensive way to decarbonise. But there are unpredictable events, such as the war unleashed by Putin, which can help even more. With this attack, Russia is leading Europe to decarbonise much faster than expected. When it is finished, the European gas market will no longer exist ».
September 22, 2022 (change September 22, 2022 | 16:48)
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