- Key Initiatives
- Faculty & Research
- Big Data for Better Business seminars
- No Free Lunch Seminar Series
- Annual News and Finance Conferences
- Transparency Conference: At What Speed and Cost?
- Systemic Risk Conferences
- Networking Receptions
- Financial Career Events
- 2011-2014 Annual Program for Financial Studies Conferences
Program for Financial Studies Climate Change and Finance Initiative
Director: Geoffrey Heal, Donald C. Waite III Professor of Social Enterprise
Assistant Director: Kent Daniel, William von Mueffling Professor of Business
The PFS Climate Change and Finance initiative seeks to understand how a changing climate and the policies directed at mitigating climate change will affect American business, with particular emphasis on the financial sector. Examples of key research questions for the initiative preliminarily include the following::
- Which industries will be affected by climate change, and how will this impact their strategic choices?
- What policy options are available at the federal and state levels, and what will be their consequences for business?
- What are the risks associated with climate change, and how are markets reacting to these risks?
- Can the exposure of mortgage underwriters and insurance companies to coastal properties be a source of systemic financial risk?
Recent and upcoming activities include:
Research: The faculty leaders of the initiative have long been active in scholarship on these important questions. As a recent example, in 2016, Professor Heal authored a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper, entitled “What Would It Take for the US to Reduce US Greenhouse Gas Emissions 80% by 2050?” Widely cited by major media including The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, the article focused on the infrastructure requirement of decarbonizing the economy and the financing implications. Also in 2016, Professor Daniel completed a paper, entitled “Applying Asset Pricing Theory to Calibrate the Price of Climate Risk,” in which he and co-authors estimate the scale and co-variances of the risks associated with climate change. In addition, Patrick Bolton, the Barbara and David Zalaznick Professor of Business, published a paper, “Hedging Climate Risks,” in which he and his co-authors explain how financial institutions can structure portfolios that avoid the major risks associated with climate change.
Industry Engagement: Columbia Business School, and the Program for Financial Studies, is known for its convening power and ability to engage diverse groups of stakeholders, from prominent scholars to business and government leaders to students and beyond. For example, on May 2, 2017, the Business School’s Tamer Center will co-host a half-day forum on “Near-Term Impacts of Climate Change on Investors.” The event, held at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., will bring to together leading climate change scientists from the University, Business School faculty members, including Professor Usher and PFS initiative directors Professors Heal and Daniel, and investors to explore how advances in climate science can inform investments in specific sectors of the global economy.
Teaching: Columbia Business School has featured various business issues in climate change in its curriculum for many years. In the 2016–17 academic year, Columbia Business School offered two such courses: Current Developments in Energy Markets, taught by Professor Heal; and The Business of Climate Change: Investing and Managing in a Changing Climate, taught by Professors Heal, Daniel, and Bolton. In addition, Professor Heal completed a case study for use in the classroom on Tesla and is working on another on SunEdison. Additional offerings have included a course in Carbon Finance and Finance & Sustainability, both taught by Professor Usher of the Tamer Center.