Our 2 Cents

Christopher Costello Appointed to California’s Climate-Related Risk Disclosure Advisory Group

Friday, April 9, 2021

We are excited to announce that Research Director Christopher Costello has been selected to join California’s Climate-Related Risk Disclosure Advisory Group. 

The Advisory Group, led by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research in partnership with Stanford University’s Sustainable Finance Initiative, aims to further strengthen California’s leadership on addressing the immense challenges posed by climate change. Dr. Costello is excited by the opportunity to bring interdisciplinary insights from his work at emLab and UCSB to help California implement effective, durable, and forward-looking policy solutions.

The Advisory Group’s objective is to help the State address and mitigate the financial challenges posed by climate change by developing a climate risk disclosure standard that draws from federal and international best practices. A California disclosure standard would call on companies, financial institutions, agencies, and others to assess and report their climate-related risks and opportunities, which would inform decisions by agencies, companies, and investors. As the name suggests, understanding climate risk – from the physical impacts of climate change (e.g., increased wildfires and drought) to the transition to a low-carbon economy – is central to developing a climate risk disclosure standard. 

In a statement released this week, Advisory Group Co-Chair Kate Gordon noted that “for every dollar we spend mitigating climate risks, we can save at least six dollars in disaster response, so understanding and adapting to these risks is not just smart policy – it’s our fiscal responsibility. California has already established itself as a national and global leader in fighting the climate crisis, and understanding climate risk disclosure will advance this effort and set an example for the rest of the United States and the world.” 

At emLab, we develop data-driven insights to better align environmental goals and economic incentives in support of sustainable livelihoods and a resilient planet. As part of our think-and-do approach, we examine the uncertainty, risk, and impacts associated with climate change and work in collaboration with partners to develop timely and implementable solutions. 

In light of Dr. Costello’s new role, we wanted to briefly highlight some of our recent work in this space. We have explored climate-risk from a variety of angles from examining wildfire damages in California over time and investigating the labor market impacts of renewable energy policies to identifying equitable pathways to reach carbon neutrality in California’s transportation sector and considering the role insurance may play in protecting fisheries. A central tenet of this work is the role markets and carbon pricing play, both of which will be crucial components in climate-risk disclosures. 

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