For the better part of the past decade, the climate change debate has been dominated by the the views of a small-yet-powerful collection of business actors with a lot to loose from seeing governments regulate greenhouse gases [GHG]. This group, with its tremendous political influence, did everything that it could to stymie meaningful debate on the climate question, tirelessly arguing that moving to limit GHG emissions would equate to nothing short of economic suicide.
Fortunately, this era is coming to an end, and an increasing number of investors are now seeing climate change as a way to cash in on some new business opportunities being created across a number of sectors. Naysayers, I have this to say to you: fixing the climate is not about reducing the size of the pie, it's about altering its composition.
Now, with this in mind, let's move on to the meat of this piece: a new report by Citi entitled Climatic Consequences: Investment Implications of a Changing Climate (PDF document). I read this report last week and would definitely recommend it to folks who are having a hard time seeing where upside can arise from efforts to tackle GHG.
The report identifies 3 broad sets of "implications" related to climate change that can create business opportunities for certain companies:
Physical Implications: Select US natural gas exploration and production companies, farm equipment suppliers, agricultural biotechnology companies, and select US property insurers.
Regulatory Implications: Select electric utilities, engineering and construction firms, capital goods companies, natural gas suppliers, select automobile companies, food processors, fertilizer suppliers, wind and solar power companies, and companies focused on building energy efficiency.
Behavioral Implications: “Climate consultants” offering services that promote efficient energy usage, and companies that facilitate carbon trading.
The report lists 74 stocks, and briefly explains why each company is well-positioned to benefit from climate change.
This is a very instructive piece if you have limited knowledge of certain key clean tech areas such as clean coal, solar and wind, ethanol, etc., but especially of how these areas could see growing upside from efforts to combat climate change. The report does a good job of providing very useful information in an easy to understand, no non-sense format.
Citi does, however, warn of a few caveats:
The key risk to our climatic consequences theme is that governments, regulatory organizations, and/or corporations no longer feel compelled to take near-term steps to respond to the perceived threat of global climate change.
In addition, part of our analysis is based on the assumption that restrictions on the emissions of various greenhouse gases will be tightened within a number of countries in future years, which may not happen for a variety of reasons, including political and economic considerations at a national and local level.
We further note that our analysis does not consider stock-specific metrics such as valuation, EPS, and P/E ratios, or balance sheets, market capitalization, and liquidity. Accordingly, when making decisions, investors should view thematic analysis as only one input. Further, since this analysis employs a longer-term methodology, the conclusions of a fundamental analysis may be different.
Have a good read!!