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OCTOBER 14 2017 'Tide has turned': Global rating agency says climate economics trump politics Peter Hannam 


The global shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy will continue regardless of political action such as President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement or outbursts from ex-Australian prime ministers, a senior ratings analyst says.

"The tide has turned," said Michael Wilkins, the head of climate and environmental risks at Standard & Poor's Global Ratings, adding the transition meant the economic viability of assets such as coal mines and coal-fired power stations would be "vastly impaired".

Abbott shut down over climate comments

After saying global warming was a good thing because more people die in the cold, the former PM has been rebuked by Energy minister Josh Frydenberg.

Mr Wilkins' comments come as new S&P research points to deep falls in the costs of renewable energy as other groups report important shifts by corporations at home and abroad on climate risks.

Mr Wilkins said investors, including in Australia, were increasingly demanding to know how companies were monitoring financial exposure to climate change - and what they were doing about the threats.

The risks include challenges their businesses will face in a carbon-constrained world but also the physical damage posed by more extreme weather events as the planet heats up.

Pressure for disclosure is only likely to increase as groups, such as the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure, win the backing of the central banks of G20 nations. 

Mr Wilkins said it was understandable if commodity-based economies such as Australia moved slower than other nations but even here investors were starting to act. 

 

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