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Earth Institute

Earth Institute and AllianceBernstein Unites to Develop a Curriculum Addressing Climate Risk

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The curriculum focuses on companies’ risks and opportunities associated with global climate change

The climate change issue has brought many entrepreneurs, financiers, philanthropists, and nearly every country to drive the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions. Individual investors are bringing awareness of climate change risks to drive the promotion of sustainability issues. For better environmental outcomes, Columbia University’s Earth Institute (Earth Observatory), a world-renowned Earth and Climate science research center, is collaborating with leading global investment management firm AllianceBernstein L.P. (AB). The mission is to create a first-of-its-kind intensive curriculum focused on climate risk and investment performance.

The future is sustainable

The collaboration encourages scientific experts from Lamont-Doherty and leading finance professionals at AB to co-develop a new curriculum, “Climate Science and Portfolio Risk”. The stance came after identifying the need for an educational, research-based program to integrate a deeper analysis of how climate change implications can affect economic and financial outcomes.
Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, Alex Halliday underlines the issues; The climate crisis is fast becoming the major issue that society has to address across all sectors. There is an urgent need for businesses to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the huge risks that are to be faced. Assessing and factoring in climate risk in a more comprehensive and granular fashion than can be achieved from relatively blunt and misleading economic models will have far-reaching impacts. Therefore, this venture is sorely needed and will deepen the knowledge of members of the financial sector to make informed decisions based on a planet that is changing due to global warming.

The sustainably managed environment

The partnership focuses on how to integrate a deeper understanding of climate science with companies’ risks and opportunities. The designed curriculum strongly aligns with the Earth Institute’s mission to mobilize the sciences, education and public policy to achieve a sustainable earth. Also, the curriculum syncs with AB’s mission- to embrace responsible investing and generate excellent outcomes for clients through research.

All investment teams at AB aim next year to be actively enrolled in a pilot program during which the curriculum will be presented in integrative, interactive intensive sessions. After then the investment teams will be guided to evaluate how companies’ risks and opportunities are associated with global climate change, including rising sea levels, wildfire hazards, predictive modeling for extreme weather and other potential consequences. The collaboration predicts that the outcome of the program will enhance the curriculum towards serving as a model for the broader investment industry.

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The Educational landscape is changing dynamically. The new generation of students thus faces the daunting task to choose an institution that would guide them towards a lucrative career.

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