Climate research at the University of Reading in the UK will support a new £10m (US$14m) research center that will advise lenders, investors and insurers on making environmentally sustainable decisions, in order to encourage a greener global economy.
The UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment (CGFI) launched in mid-February and is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Scientists at the university and the Institute for Environmental Analytics (IEA), based on the Reading campus, will contribute the latest research on climate change and sustainability to financial institutions around the world, which currently struggle to access reliable information.
The university’s role will be to investigate the impact of climate change on wind and flooding risk to properties in the UK and Europe, while the IEA will provide analysis, data visualization and application development.
Professor Rowan Sutton, director of climate science for the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), based at the university, said, “The finance and investment industries are waking up to the critical impact of climate change on the value of assets and portfolios. To make prudent decisions they require the very best information about how climate change is affecting hazards and risks all over the world, which is a major area of NCAS expertise and capability. We are delighted to be playing a central role in this innovative new venture.”
Professor Len Shaffrey, climate scientist at the University of Reading and NCAS who is also contributing to the work of the center, added, “Banks, pension funds and insurance companies are looking to better understand the financial implications of climate change. At the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, we are very much looking forward to working as part of the Centre for Greening Finance and Investment to help financial institutions access the latest science on the changing risks of storms, floods, and droughts.”
The center, led by the University of Oxford, will support economic growth while transitioning to a low-carbon economy in line with the Paris Agreement. New physical hubs in Leeds and London will support companies and startups to commercialize products that can green global finance, including tools that measure storm and flood risk-facing properties or the pollution created by companies and the liabilities that result.
Work will begin in April, ahead of this year’s COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow. The CGFI will aim to deliver on commitments made in the UK government’s 2019 Green Finance Strategy.