Credit Downgrade Threat as a Non-regulatory Driver for Flood Risk Mitigation and Sea Level Rise Adaptation
John A. Miller, a long-time ASFPM member and Master of Environmental Studies-Environmental Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, recently published “Credit Downgrade Threat as a Non-regulatory Driver for Flood Risk Mitigation and Sea Level Rise Adaptation.”
In the paper, he found that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma seemed to have increased the tempo in investor and credit rating agency interest in climate change risk. Communities that prepare and adapt to future flood and sea level rise risks will not only be safer and more resilient in recovering from inundation and storm events, but will be more fiscally sustainable and economically secure with public support offered to proactive elected officials and professionals.
Some of the key findings in the paper, which was informed by input from ASFPM’s Director Emeritus Larry Larson, P.E., CFM, and Howard C. Kunreuther, PhD of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, University of Pennsylvania, found:
Credit rating companies are beginning to look at the climate change threats to municipal revenue; interest will increase especially in coastal areas;
Investors are asking questions about climate change as a material risk and will be driving transparency, detail and refinement in climate change risk evaluation; expect investors to demand more detailed assessments;
Local government must start planning and being proactive in adaptation. They should have answers for credit agencies and investors’ questions on vulnerability and climate change impacts on property value and revenue.