The Near-term Impacts of Climate Change on Investors

How can an application of the best climate science improve competition across the private sector? What are the actionable trends impacting the stability and security of food, water, shelter, health, and energy resources? How will these trends affect investment returns, creating both risks and opportunities for business leaders?

This forum—a joint effort by the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory—brings together climate scientists and business leaders to understand how new advances in climate science can inform investments in specific sectors of the global economy. The conference will explore topics that address the value and opportunity of using a science-based approach to inform and guide business decisions.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017
8:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

This event is by invitation only.

Time Event

8:00–8:30 a.m.

Breakfast and registration

8:30–8:40 a.m.


  • Peter deMenocal
    Thomas Alva Edison/Con Edison Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences;
    and Director, Center for Climate and Life
    Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory;
    Dean of Science, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

8:40–8:50 a.m.

Welcome remarks on using science to make smarter business decisions

8:50–9:20 a.m.

Lightning talk on sea level and coastal property

  • Peter Huybers
    Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Environmental Science and Engineering;
    Harvard University Center for the Environment
  • Christopher Mayer
    Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate
    Columbia Business School

9:20–9:50 a.m.

Lightning talk on extreme climate events and reinsurance

  • Adam Sobel
    Professor, Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and
    Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
    Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Stephen Weinstein
    Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer, Group General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
    RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd.

9:50–10:05 a.m.

Coffee break

10:05–10:50 a.m.

Lightning talk on climate, agriculture, and water

  • Lila Preston
    Generation Investment Management
  • Wolfram Schlenker
    Associate Professor
    School of International and Public Affairs
    Columbia University
  • Richard Seager
    Palisades Geophysical Institute/Lamont Research Professor
    Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

10:50–11:10 a.m.

Keynote address on electric utility sector disruption

  • Geoffrey Heal
    Donald C. Waite III Professor of Social Enterprise
    Columbia Business School

11:10–11:20 a.m.

Coffee break

11:20–11:50 a.m.

Keynote address on climate change and investing

11:50 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

Investor panel on the intersection of climate and investment

  • Kent Daniel
    William von Mueffling Professor of Business
    Columbia Business School;
    former Co-Chief Investment Officer and Head of Equity Research, Quantitative Investment Strategies
    Goldman Sachs Asset Management
  • Mary Jane McQuillen
    Managing Director, Portfolio Manager, Head of Environmental, Social and Governance Investment
    ClearBridge Investments
  • Ashley Schulten
    Portfolio Manager, BlackRock’s Green Bond Mandates

12:20–12:30 p.m.

Closing remarks

  • Damon Phillips
    Lambert Family Professor of Social Enterprise
    Co-Director of The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise
    Columbia Business School
  • Bruce Usher
    Elizabeth B. Strickler ’86 and Mark T. Gallogly ’86 Faculty Director
    Co-Director of The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise
    Columbia Business School

References and Links Provided by Speakers

Kent Daniel
Applying Asset Pricing Theory to Calibrate the Price of Climate Risk, Working paper

Geoff Heal
What Would it Take to Reduce US Greenhouse Gas Emissions 80% by 2050?, The National Bureau of Economic Research
Goldilocks Economies? Temperature Stress and the Direct Impacts of Climate Change, The National Bureau of Economic Research
Uncertainty and Decision in Climate Change Economics , The National Bureau of Economic Research
From Growth to Green Growth - a Framework, The National Bureau of Economic Research
Tipping Climate Negotiations, The National Bureau of Economic Research

Peter Huybers
Cooling of US Midwest summer temperature extremes from cropland intensification, Nature
Seasonally Resolved Distributional Trends of North American Temperatures Show Contraction of Winter Variability, American Meteorological Society (AMS)

Wolfram Schlenker
Nonlinear Temperature Effects Indicate Severe Damages to U.S. Crop Yields Under Climate Change, Proceedings of the National Academy of the United States of America (PNAS)
Identifying Supply and Demand Elasticities of Agricultural Commodities: Implications for the US Ethanol Mandate, American Economic Association
Greater Sensitivity to Drought Accompanies Maize Yield Increase in the U.S. Midwest, Science
Federal Crop Insurance and the Disincentive to Adapt to Extreme Heat, American Economic Association
US Maize Adaptability, Nature

Richard Seager
Decadal Drought Variability Over North America: Mechanisms and Predictability, Springer
Climate Change in the Fertile Crescent and Implications of the Recent Syrian Drought, Proceedings of the National Academy of the United States of America (PNAS)
Projections of Declining Surface-water Availability for the Southwestern United States, Nature Climate Change
Causes of the 2011–14 California Drought, American Meteorological Society
Running Dry: Weathering the Great California Drought, Harvard College Review of Environment and Society

Adam Sobel
Where Are the Hurricanes?, New York Times
All at Sea - What Mumbai Needs to Learn from Superstorm Sandy, The Times of India
Human Influence on Tropical Cyclone Intensity, Science
Influence of the El Ă‘ino/Southern Oscillation on Tornado and Hail Frequency in the United States, Nature
On the Impact Angle of Hurricane Sandy’s New Jersey Landfall, Geophysical Research Letters

Bruce Usher
On the Heels of a Boom, a Foggier Future for Solar, Ideas and Insights
Real Progress on Emissions Can Lead to a Global Pact, New York Times
The U.S. as a Climate Change Leader?, The Huffington Post

Other References

The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States National Report, Risky Business

From Risk to Return, Risky Business