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Misplaced expectations from climate disclosure initiatives

Abstract

The financial sector’s response to pressures around climate change has emphasized the role of disclosure, notably through the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. This Perspective examines two dimensions of the expectations behind transparency and disclosure initiatives: the belief that disinvestment is driven by disclosure; and that investment ‘switches’ from high- to low-carbon assets. We warn about the risk of disappointment from inflated expectations about what transparency can really deliver and suggest some areas that research and public policy should examine to mobilize the required capital to meet climate goals.

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Fig. 1: S&P 500 versus S&P 500 Energy sector performance for 2009–2020.
Fig. 2: MSCI Europe versus MSCI Europe Energy sector performance for 2009–2020.
Fig. 3: Top public fossil fuel and renewables companies according to market capitalization in 2019.

Data availability

The results data are provided in Supplementary Table 1. Source data are provided with this paper.

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Acknowledgements

This project has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement number 802891).

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N.A., S.K. and M.G. contributed to the writing of the manuscript, under the coordination of N.A.

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Correspondence to Nadia Ameli.

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Peer review information Nature Climate Change thanks Allie Goldstein, Gregor Semieniuk and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Table 1.

Source data

Source Data Fig. 1

Numeric data used to generate Fig. 1.

Source Data Fig. 2

Numeric data used to generate Fig. 2.

Source Data Fig. 3

Numeric data used to generate Fig. 3.

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Ameli, N., Kothari, S. & Grubb, M. Misplaced expectations from climate disclosure initiatives. Nat. Clim. Chang. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01174-8

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