Leggett Foresees ‘Snowball Effect’ on Stranded Asset Risk, Fossil Divestment
The climate risk report by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) is a “wake-up call for fossil fuel investors” that holds “the potential to change the world,” writes solar entrepreneur and Carbon Tracker Chair Jeremy Leggett, based on the impact it has had on major investors since it was released last December 14.
“Even before the Paris Agreement was adopted last year, climate risk was high on the agenda of the world’s largest institutional investors and asset managers,” Leggett notes. “Resolutions asking oil and gas companies to stress-test their business models against a 2°C-consistent climate outcome were generally opposed by boards, but received record-high support levels from shareholders.”
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With the TCFD report providing “a template for best practices and a road map for better disclosure,” he adds, “now there will be no hiding place.”
As soon as the report released, its findings were endorsed by multinational businesses like Aviva, AXA, BHP Billiton, JPMorgan, and Daimler, Leggett recalls. “Many more will surely follow,” Leggett says, and “investors have not waited for the task force’s advice. By the time of the Paris climate summit, investment funds with collective assets of $3.4 trillion had either divested from all or some fossil fuels, or announced their intention to.”
As investors become more aware of stranded asset risk, he predicts that interest in the TCFD’s deliberations and fossil fuel divestments will lead to “a snowball effect, and much drama on Wall Street—much of it to the great benefit of the renewables industries.”