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Carbon Asset Risk: A Review of Progress and Opportunities

n September 2013, Ceres and the Carbon Tracker Initiative launched the Carbon Asset Risk (“CAR”) Initiative with support from the Global Investor Coalition. This report chronicles major shifts in the financial landscape since the CAR effort began.

The concept of carbon asset risk – that the world’s fossil fuel companies hold at least three times more oil, gas and coal reserves than can realistically be burned in order to avoid potentially catastrophic climate warming – has risen to the forefront as Wall Street analysts, investors, regulators and governments increasingly recognize carbon asset risk as an actionable, systemic financial risk that must be brought under control.

In September 2013, Ceres and the Carbon Tracker Initiative launched the Carbon Asset Risk (“CAR”) Initiative with support from the Global Investor Coalition. The CAR Initiative was launched as 75 investors representing $3.5 trillion in assets called on 45 of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies to come clean on the risks of stranded assets.

This report chronicles major shifts in the financial landscape since the CAR effort began. Some of these changes can be linked directly to actions or progress achieved through the CAR Initiative or its many collaborative partners, while others are more indicative of the increased relevance of the carbon asset risk framing around wasted capital, stranded assets and unburnable carbon.

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