Scientists are raising alarm over the lack of publicly-verifiable quality of privately-generated corporate climate risk assessments, Politico reports. As firms respond to shareholders’ and activists’ growing calls for climate risk disclosure, a cottage industry of consultants has emerged to provide it — but with methodology often hidden from public view and expert scrutiny. Experts warn the false security potentially created by such modeling could pose risks to firms and shareholders, not to mention the actual people vulnerable to extreme climate impacts. This lack of transparency leaves individual companies vulnerable to damages they thought they were protected against. “It’s only after you’ve been hit when you realize you’ve been working with garbage data,” Sarah Russell, team lead at Alphabet’s X, noted at a climate risk conference this month.
Hewlett Packard Enterprises moved its manufacturing operations out of Houston after suffering significant damage from Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and then conducted and released results of how it would fare under two climate change futures, the Wall Street Journal reported. (The report did not note whether the assessment methodology was made public.) Some consultancies are also claiming a level of precision in their forecasting many experts see as dangerously unrealistic. For example, Jupiter Intelligence, which has contracts with HUD, claims it can predict climate impacts with square kilometer-detail, contrary to recent research that cast doubt on climate information at a scale of less than 1,000 kilometers. (Politico Pro $, Politico; HPE: Wall Street Journal $)