“There is no question that climate change is having an immediate impact on California’s fiscal and economic health,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “This effort will improve our understanding of climate risk from an investment perspective, ensuring California leads not only on climate policy, but on safeguarding public dollars in the face of increasing climate risk and advancing an equitable recovery.”
California has experienced firsthand the financial impacts of climate-related crises, including but not limited to, recurrent drought conditions, the devastating wildfires of the past three years, and the extreme heatwave of 2020. Increased State budget risk from climate disasters and the economic losses felt by local governments across the state are examples of the clear economic impacts of climate change. These events put in stark focus the urgent need for California to adapt to a changing climate.
“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,” said Kate Gordon, Advisory Group Co-Chair, Director at the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research and Senior Advisor to the Governor on Climate. “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.”
The Governor called for the Advisory Group to support the State of California through the development of a climate risk disclosure standard, consistent with federal and international best practices. The Advisory Group, as part of California’s cross-government framework for urgently addressing and mitigating the impacts of climate change, will focus not only on identifying best practices across national and international climate risk disclosure, but also on the unique challenges and opportunities that might arise when applying climate risk disclosure to a public sector decision-making context.
“Climate change is not only an environmental issue, it’s an everything issue,” said Alicia Seiger, Advisory Group Co-Chair and Managing Director at the Precourt Institute’s Sustainable Finance Initiative at Stanford University. “Climate change affects all parts of the economy, all sectors and geographies. It’s foreseeable, and scientists have a high level of certainty about how risks will materialize in the future. We cannot delay action.”
California’s approach is consistent with recent federal action on climate risk disclosure. In February, the Federal Reserve released an Economic Letter noting that climate risk “can adversely affect financial markets, asset classes, and institutions as well as the income and balance sheets of businesses, households, and governments.” More recently, the Acting Chair of the SEC released a statement directing the Division of Corporate Finance to “enhance its focus on climate-related disclosure in public company filings.”
In forming this Advisory Group, California stands ready to support these federal efforts, and to lead by example on the application of climate risk disclosure standards and practices in a government context.
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the Precourt Institute’s Sustainable Finance Initiative at Stanford University will co-chair the Advisory Group.
Advisory Group Co-Chairs
Kate Gordon, Director at the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research and Senior Advisory to the Governor on Climate
Alicia Seiger, Managing Director at the Precourt Institute’s Sustainable Finance Initiative at Stanford University and Stanford Lecturer
Advisory Group Members
(All confirmed unless otherwise noted)
Marla Bleavins, Deputy Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer at Port of Los Angeles
Kathleen L. Brown, former California State Treasurer
Chris Costello, Professor, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, UCSB/Member, Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors
Dr. Craig Davies, Associate Director (Energy Efficiency & Climate Change) at European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Jib Ellison, CEO of Blu Skye Consulting
Nili Gilbert, Board Member and Chair of Investment Committee at David Rockefeller Fund
Janine Guillot, CEO of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
Tom Heller, Faculty Director, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy & Finance
Dan Iancu, Associate Professor of Operations & Information Technology at Stanford and Visiting Professor of Technology & Operations Management at INSEAD
Scott Jacobs, CEO and Co-Founder at Generate Capital
Dave Jones, Director of the Climate Risk Initiative at UC Berkeley Law School
Mary Obasi, Global Climate Risk Executive in Global Risk Management at Bank of America
Tim Profeta, Director at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke
Carlos Sánchez, Director of Climate Resilience Investment at Willis Towers Watson
Lynn Schenk, Associate Director, Business and Environment Initiative at Harvard Business School
The Rev. Kirsten Spalding, Sr. Program Director, Investor Network and California Office, Ceres, Inc.
Laura D’Andrea Tyson, Professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and a member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors [INVITED]
Marilyn Waite, Climate and Clean Energy Finance Program Officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Bill Weil, Sustainable Finance at Tempest Advisors