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#COP21: FSB To Establish Task Force On Climate-related Financial Disclosures

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The Financial Stability Board (FSB) announced today it is establishing an industry-led disclosure task force on climate-related financial risks under the chairmanship of Michael R. Bloomberg. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) will develop voluntary, consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by companies in providing information to lenders, insurers, investors and other stakeholders.

Speaking at the COP21 Paris Climate Change Conference Mark Carney, FSB Chair, said “The FSB is asking the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures to make recommendations for consistent company disclosures that will help financial market participants understand their climate-related risks. Access to high quality financial information will allow market participants and policymakers to understand and better manage those risks, which are likely to grow with time. Michael’s experience working on climate change issues, his unparalleled track record of execution in a broad range of fields and his lifelong commitment to open and transparent financial markets make him the ideal leader for the Task Force.”

The Task Force will consider the physical, liability and transition risks associated with climate change and what constitutes effective financial disclosures in this area. It will seek to develop a set of recommendations for consistent, comparable, reliable, clear and efficient climate-related disclosures, as set out in the FSB’s proposal in November. The wide range of existing disclosure schemes relating to climate or sustainability highlights the need for companies and relevant stakeholders to reach a consensus on the characteristics of effective disclosures and examples of good practices. In doing so, the industry-led Task Force will take account of the work of other groups related to effective disclosures.

Speaking about his role, Michael R. Bloomberg said “It’s critical that industries and investors understand the risks posed by climate change, but currently there is too little transparency about those risks. When Governor Carney laid out the idea for a Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, I offered him my full support to help make it a success. While the business and finance communities are already playing a leading role on climate change, through investments in technological innovation and clean energy, this Task Force will accelerate that activity by increasing transparency. And in doing so, it will help make markets more efficient, and economies more stable and resilient.”

The Task Force will conduct its work in two stages. During the first stage, the Task Force will consist of about 10 individuals, who will determine the scope and high-level objectives for its work. It is expected that this first stage will be completed by end-March 2016. During the second stage, the Task Force’s work is likely to be expanded to include up to 30 individuals, focused on delivering specific recommendations for voluntary disclosure principles and leading practices, if appropriate, with a view to completing its work by end-2016. As part of its work the Task Force will conduct public outreach.

In similar fashion to the Enhanced Disclosure Task Force (EDTF), an industry-led group that was established by the FSB in 2012 to make recommendations on financial risk disclosures for banks, the Task Force will comprise senior technical experts from firms that are the preparers and users of company risk disclosures, as well as risk analysts. The members of the Task Force will be private-sector individuals drawn from financial and non-financial companies across a broad range of countries within the FSB’s membership.

Fiona Reynolds, managing director of the PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) said: “Investors are increasingly aware of the material risks associated with climate change, which has been underscored by a number of policymakers, including Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who has warned of the risks associated with stranded assets.  In the past, investors were content to let governments act; now, we are seeing a real shift, with investors being much more proactive and taking the lead in urging governments, policymakers and other stakeholders to take action on climate change.”

Ben Caldecott, Programme Director, University of Oxford’s Smith School said: “Climate-related disclosures are an important prerequisite for capital to cascade from higher risk, unsustainable investments towards those investments compatible with sustainability. The new Task Force has a vitally important role to play. Michael Bloomberg, who has built a successful business on ensuring the timely, accurate, and consistent provision of comparable information to markets, is surely one of the best possible people Mark Carney could have asked to chair this important process.”

Stephanie Pfeifer, Chief Executive of IIGCC – a European network of Institutional Investors with €13 trillion in assets, said: “Access to high quality information can only help accelerate the reallocation of capital by investors in ways that will accelerate the low carbon transition. More consistent and reliable carbon disclosure will make it easier for investors to evaluate climate risk in their portfolios and understand where the opportunities in clean energy and other essential low carbon technology lie.”

Mark Campanale, founder and executive director, Carbon Tracker said: “Carbon Tracker welcomes further steps to progress the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. A key challenge the Task Force faces will be to identity and agree reliable, independent information on ‘carbon bubble’ and ‘stranded assets’ risks, to help market participants manage their transition to a low carbon economy. We remain ready to support this process.”

Alice Garton, Company and Financial Lawyer for ClientEarth, said: “This is a hugely welcome initiative. It’s essential that businesses report their climate-risks clearly and consistently. One of the strongest messages coming out of COP21 is that business as usual is no longer an option. Whether or not we get an international agreement, the INDCs already on the table change the landscape of business and investment decisions dramatically. This increased focus by the FSB, and our own litigation programme designed to create a step-change in climate risk reporting, will drive investors’ capital away from businesses who are unable to demonstrate they are adapting to climate change to those that are. Those businesses that fail to adapt to the new normal will find it impossible to survive.”

Julian Poulter, CEO of Asset Owner Disclosure Project, said: “The Paris climate talks are haggling over $100billion of climate finance, but the real story is the trillions of dollars that are already switching away from fossil fuels towards low carbon assets. Better disclosure of climate and carbon exposure can speed up this transition.”

Dr Raj Thamotheram, CEO, Preventable Surprises, said: “The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) is a very welcome step – corporate disclosure of 2C transition plans are critical if we are to stay within this 2C ceiling.  And there also needs to be an equally hefty initiative to get investors to factor these disclosures into their valuation and stewardship decision–making processes.”

Simon Howard, Chief Executive of the UK Sustainable and Investment Finance Association (UKSIF), said: “This is excellent news. The financial risks in climate change are becoming obvious. Better disclosure and consistent data will not only help investors prepare for the significant challenges ahead but will play a part in identifying the profitable mitigation opportunities which will emerge.”

Chris Cheetham, Global Chief Investment Officer, HSBC Global Asset Management, added: “The establishment of this Task Force is an important step towards creating the transparency and consistent standards needed for investors and pension funds to understand the risks and opportunities within their portfolios as we transition to a low carbon economy.”

Seb Beloe, Head of Sustainability Research, WHEB Asset Management, commented: “This initiative is timely and comes with the high-level leadership needed to reinforce the need for, and rebut attempts to roll-back, climate-related financial disclosures.”

Richard Stathers, Head of Responsible Investment, Schroder Investment Management, added: “Few, if any, corporates have honestly assessed the implication of different climate change scenarios to the economy and their value chain. Yet the research suggests that unconstrained climate change poses a very real risk to long-term asset value and economic productivity and, as a result, to the ability of pension funds to meet future obligations.

The FSBs establishment of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures is a very welcome and timely announcement. The outputs of which will not only build on the achievements of other disclosure groups but, more importantly, enable financial markets to better understand how companies are financially exposed, whether positively or negatively, to political efforts to decarbonise the global economy as well as to the physical impacts of climate change already at work.”

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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