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Regulators ramp up climate disclosure talks; Mind the 'credibility gap'

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Regulators ramp up climate disclosure talks; Mind the 'credibility gap'

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.

The U.S. must address a "credibility gap" that has largely limited it from realizing and keeping a consistent pace toward its net-zero climate targets, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman tells us in the latest "Energy Evolution" podcast from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

"We have to start taking some actions here domestically that are probably going to be controversial, maybe difficult to get through, but things that show that we are, in fact, going to follow through on this," Whitman said.

In this week's newsletter, we look at the challenges President Joe Biden faces as the U.S. rejoins the Paris Agreement on climate change and his administration seeks to reinvigorate the nation's engagement in global climate policy discussions.

Some of those discussions took place among policymakers at a climate conference hosted by the Institute of International Finance last week. A top Securities and Exchange Commission official said the agency "can and should" help create a system for disclosing companies' climate risks, while a Federal Reserve governor said the central bank may create new supervisory tools to ensure banks are managing their climate risks adequately.

Against this backdrop, we are seeing massive growth in sustainable debt issuance worldwide. At the same time, a new report shows how little of global stimulus spending is going toward "green" investments amid the pandemic — see our Chart of the Week and listen to an interview with the company behind the report in the latest episode of S&P Global's ESG Insider podcast.

Chart of the Week

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Top Stories

Many rich countries lag in efforts to steer COVID-19 stimulus to green projects

A recent analysis of the G-20 countries and a further 10 national economies shows that of the total $14.9 trillion in stimulus announced so far, $4.6 trillion is being spent on "environmentally intensive" sectors that tend to have a negative impact on climate, biodiversity or local air quality, such as agriculture, energy and transport. Meanwhile, less than $1.8 trillion of the stimulus spending has been "green."

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Smoke from a cement factory in Derbyshire, U.K.
Credit: John Finney Photography/Moment via Getty Images

Net-zero emission targets, new US administration to drive green bond issuance

The green bond market will likely continue its upward trajectory, buoyed by a new climate-friendly U.S. administration, favorable EU regulation and net-zero emission targets by an increasing number of countries. Social bond issuance also blossomed in 2020, reaching $162.34 billion, up from $17.81 billion in 2019, and sustainability bond issuance climbed to $136.40 billion from $40.99 billion, according to an International Capital Market Association analysis of the Environmental Finance database.

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US financial industry lays out low-carbon vision as regulators weigh new rules

Key financial trade groups laid out a vision for shifting the U.S. to a low-carbon economy last week, saying that the industry can play a leading role in limiting the risks that climate change poses to the system. Regulators appear poised to prod them in that direction, with several policymakers floating the possibility of new regulatory tools and required disclosures around climate-related risks at the IIF’s Climate Finance Summit.


S&P podcast: As US reenters Paris accord, 'controversial' climate actions needed

US hits record zero-carbon power generation as renewable energy surge continues

Hydrogen key to Australian mining, gas sectors' coordinated efforts to net zero


Diversity plays crucial role in PE firms' choices for outside counsel

More focus needed to improve Black staff's sentiments at Lloyd's, survey shows

JPMorgan Chase invests $40M in 4 diverse banks


BlackRock unveils climate disclosure expectations, engagement plan for companies

Bipartisan Policy Center starts net-zero business alliance with major executives

Arch Resources winding down massive US coal mine as customer base dwindles

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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