Policy ForumClimate Science

A climate intelligence arms race in financial markets

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Science  20 Sep 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6459, pp. 1240-1243
DOI: 10.1126/science.aay8442

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Global financial markets are using applied science to measure, and to guide investments in response to, phenomena attributed to climate change, which influence supply chains, production capacity, and fundamental aspects of supply and demand. Such science and technology, and their integration into markets, are critical for shaping behavior and extending discipline over carbon consumption and excessive risk-taking. There is thus a technology arms race among climate services providers to develop capacity for understanding market, transition, and physical risks across a broad spectrum of asset classes. But the lack of transparent scientific validation and public oversight over rapidly advancing, and often proprietary, “black box” technologies are causes of concern, both for the integrity of science and for the potential impacts on consumer behavior and public policy. This paper explores potential pathways for public-sector consumers to extend review authority over such products and services that may be operating outside of the bounds of scientific merit, to balance demands for public transparency, scientific integrity, intellectual property, and commercial enterprise in the broader adaptation of market economies.

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