The Arctic Death Spiral - attending the 2023 Climate Risk and Return Conference

By Todd Fowler posted 04-26-2023 14:58


You’ve probably seen movie footage of a pastor giving a passionate talk to his flock and them reciprocating with “AMEN” or other words of support back to him.  This is how I felt when attending a session given by Spencer Glendon at the CFA Institute Climate Risk and Return conference which was held in New York City on April 20 & 21, 2023.  Dr. Glendon’s session perfectly placed in the late afternoon when most participants tend to get a little tired and lose some focus.  I say this because once he started speaking everyone perked up and the audience was ALL ears.

The topic was “Out of Sample: Old Data, Models, and Processes Will Fail in a Warming Word.  From start to finish you just knew that he ‘gets it’ and wants to make sure that everyone else understands it and why they should be on the bus too.  Climate risk and return, ESG, saving the planet can’t be done by just finance or just industry.  These entities need to be connected.  Being connected brings all the players to the table:  infrastructure, government, culture and communities.

If seeing his slide on The Artic Death Spiral didn’t make you want to jump to your feet, I don’t think much else will.  Viewing validated data on how the planet will considerably change with a .5 degree Celsius change is alarming and then to see what would happen if it increased more was terrifying.  Dr. Glendon is able to show how a stable climate allows us to have communities, cultures, government, infrastructure, industry and finance.  He said “Markets depend on order, peace and predictability” which I find to be true.  This was by far the session I most enjoyed at the 2023 conference.