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In climate data, 'no perfect solutions'

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In climate data, 'no perfect solutions'

The ESG Insider newsletter compiles news and insights on environmental, social and governance developments driving change in business and investment decisions. Subscribe to our ESG Insider newsletter, and listen to the ESG Insider podcast on SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

When it comes to climate data, "there are no perfect solutions that exist today, and so everyone is getting comfortable in the imperfect."

That's what Jacqueline Smith, JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s vice president of sustainable finance, said during a panel discussion at the GreenBiz 21 conference last week.

"There's always going to be an error margin," Smith said. At the same time, "we shouldn't let issues or challenges with the data stop us from setting goals or trying to continue to move forward" with ambitious climate goals.

In this week's ESG Insider newsletter, we explore the hurdles companies and financial institutions face in applying climate-related data to their business decisions and risk assessments. And we take a look at a new report that suggests applying scientific climate models to business is fraught and has a high potential for misuse. In our latest ESG Insider podcast, we take a deep dive into BlackRock's net-zero strategy.

Chart of the Week

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Top Stories

BlackRock heading to net-zero but holds large fossil fuel investments for now

BlackRock Inc. is pressing companies worldwide to start planning for a net-zero economy, but the world's largest asset manager still has substantial investments in fossil fuel companies, including coal producers. The number of fossil fuel investments that BlackRock holds declined steadily from the third quarter of 2019 through the third quarter of 2020, the most recent date when data on its investment portfolio is available. Over the same period, the market value of those investments fluctuated — see our Chart of the Week above.

Scientists warn misuse of climate data is threat to business, financial markets

In the ESG world, data is fundamental to understanding risk. A new report by scientists cautions that climate change data is extremely nuanced and has a high potential for misuse with big ramifications when it comes to assessing financial risks. "Poor use of science can exaggerate financial implications and either introduce a problem where none previously existed or provide false reassurance that there is no exposure to climate risk or that it is adequately addressed," they warn.

Bond buying programs must account for climate risk, ECB official says

France's central bank governor is calling for the European Central Bank to limit its climate risk exposure by buying debt issues from corporates aligned with the Paris Agreement on climate change. "I propose to start decarbonizing the ECB's balance sheet with a pragmatic, progressive and targeted approach to all corporate assets whether they be held on the central bank's balance sheet" or taken as collateral, François Villeroy de Galhau said.


Biden's China strategy puts US clean energy plans at risk

Bank of America outlines actions to reach net-zero emissions before 2050

BNP Paribas to stop financing companies using converted Amazon, Cerrado land


JPMorgan issues 1st social bond, for $1B to fund affordable housing projects

Satellites flag deforestation from illegal gold mines in Amazon rainforest

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A recent expansion of gold mining deforestation in the buffer zone of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve in Peru is visible in images analyzed by the Amazon Conservation Association's Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project.
Source: Amazon Conservation Association

More than quarter of UK adults have low financial resilience amid pandemic


Shell strengthens emissions targets, schedules shareholder vote on climate plan

ANZ withdrawal from Newcastle port financing prompts calls for ESG collaboration

Dominion Energy rolls out $32B capital plan focused on emissions reductions

READ MORE: Sign up for our weekly ESG newsletter here, read our latest coverage of environmental, social and governance issues here and listen to our ESG podcast on SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple podcasts.

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