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ESG Part 8 & Ken Lacovara
January 15, 2023
David R. Kotok
Chairman & Chief Investment Officer
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ESG Part 8: Environmental — The Science Behind Climate Change
This Sunday, we offer another installment in our ESG series that started with the ESG conference at Rowan University. 
We draw again from that Global Interdependence Center’s ESG Conference held on October 12, this time featuring the session on the in ESG, “Environmental: The Science Behind Climate Change.” The session focused on what we know about science of climate change — past, present, and future. Today and going forward, mapping investment opportunities and risks requires an understanding of how our climate is changing and what opportunities we have to mitigate worst outcomes and to forge resilience that maintains economic capacity and reins in rising risk. The session was moderated by William Kennedy, GIC’s Board Chair and Co-Founder, who is CEO and Chief Investment Officer of RiskBridge Advisors. Speakers were Rowan University Professor Kenneth Lacovera and Bob Bunting of the Climate Adaptation Center in Sarasota, FL.
After Bill Kennedy’s introductory remarks, the attendees view a fascinating 17-minute video lecture by Kenneth Lacovara, a professor of paleontology and geology at Rowan University, who was unable to make the conference in person. (Note that Professor Lacovera has accepted an invitation to speak in person on February 9th in Sarasota at the Climate Adaptation Center Conference. Details about the conference follow at the end of this commentary.)
He shares what the fossil record can tell us about climate change in the past and today, walking viewers through a vivid account of 440 million years of climate history and its impact on life on Earth, including five previous mass extinction events. Having surveyed this history, he addresses the present:

And now, we are using our atmosphere as a garbage can. In the last 800,000 years atmospheric CO2 has never breeched 300 parts per million — not when the common ancestor of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals existed, not when we split from our kin and went our own separate ways, not when Neanderthals went extinct 50,000 years ago, not most likely when your country was founded, but now in the last few decades, this is what is happening [pointing at historical chart showing atmospheric C02 now spiking to more than 400 parts per million.] That’s not a mistake in my chart. That’s the brick wall that we are all facing today; and that, combined with habitat destruction, is wreaking havoc on the planet…. We are propagating the world’s sixth mass extinction; and now we know, through paleontology and through geology, that the previous five were all caused by climate crises.

The best way to view Dr. Lacovara’s video lecture, “Urgent Dispatches from the Fossil Record,” is as an independent resource provided at the GIC website:
“Urgent Dispatches from the Fossil Record” is a terrific video to share with anyone who says, “Yes, the climate is changing now; but the climate is always changing.” 
The video of the entire GIC session at Rowan can be viewed at this link:
At 18:42 in the GIC recording, after “Urgent Dispatches,” the program turns to Bob Bunting, founder and CEO of the Climate Adaptation Center (CAC) in Sarasota. To bring climate warming down to the local level, Bob speaks first about Hurricane Ian and the rise of stronger storms in an era of climate warming. At 22:47, Bob turns to climate warming and its implications more broadly, noting the increasing frequency of billion-dollar disasters. This chart alone offers compelling evidence that the E in ESG cannot be dismissed in investment decision-making. 
ESG Part 8 & Ken Lacovara - More Frequent Disaster Chart
After Bob expertly surveys the climate science and addresses what we can expect as the climate warms, a Q&A follows at 42:10.
We encourage readers to make time to listen to Bob’s talk beginning at 18:42 and to the Q&A that follows. We also suggest a deeper dive into Bob’s complete set of slides. Bob provides in those 30+ slides a more detailed picture than he could discuss in a talk of less than 25 minutes:
As we look ahead, we note another learning opportunity, with a focus on Florida: The Climate Adaptation Center will convene the 2023 CAC Florida Climate Conference on February 9th, 2023, in the Selby Auditorium of the University of South Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee campus. The theme is “The Triple Threat from Water and the Emergence of the Climate Economy,” and the day’s offerings will focus on “topics especially relevant to living in Florida: the threats posed by rising global temperatures, rising seas and extreme weather events; and how climate action can drive sound economic opportunities and growth objectives.” We note that the specific issues Florida faces are also faced by a number of other coastal states. 
Readers interested in registering for that conference may do so at this link:
This commentary concludes our Rowan Conference based series on ESG. See the list and links below for previous commentaries in the series:
“ESG Part 1: Introduction and October 14 Conference Information,”
“ESG Part 2: Jackson, Mississippi,”
“ESG: Readers Respond re Jackson,”
“ESG Part 3: The Florida Debate,”
“ESG Part 4: Union County, FL,”
“ESG Series: More Responses,”
“ESG Part 5: Texas,”
"ESG: Texas Responses,"
"The FTX Affair, Exxon & ESG,"
"ESG Part 6: A Conversation on Corporate Governance/ESG at Rowan University"
"ESG Part 7: ESG with Patty Healy, John Mousseau, Lisa Shaw, & Perth Tolle"

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2023 Climate Conference Announced
at USF Sarasota-Manatee
Cumberland Advisors is once again pleased to be a sponsor.
The Climate Adaptation Center’s 2023 Annual Climate Conference on the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9 in the Selby Auditorium, with a focus on topics especially relevant to living in Florida.

Learn more about the Climate Adaptation Center or purchase conference tickets here:


On February 9, 2023, the CAC brings internationally acclaimed experts to you for an engaging, interactive, informative day that will provide you with a roadmap of how you can be part of the solution to mitigate the impacts of climate warming. Check out some of the exceptional women who will be participating in this special day.

Karen Holbrook, Regional Chancellor of University of South Florida Sarasota Manatee                   
Dr. Holbrook has been regional chancellor of USF-SM since 2018, after serving as EVP at the campus and senior advisor to the president of the university.  As the host for all of the CAC conferences, she will set the stage and welcome attendees and participants.
Elizabeth Moore, Community Activist, Philanthropist and CAC Founding Director
Elizabeth is a community activist and philanthropist with a special interest in environmental and conservation issues and in science education. She will share a very personal story about hurricane Ian and will participate on the panel: The Role of Philanthropy in Transforming Threat into Opportunity: Informed Philanthropy
Suzanne Atwell, Former Sarasota Mayor and Public Affairs Advocate                              
As a former Sarasota City Commissioner and two-time city mayor, Suzanne advocates for a more informed community and hosts The Suzanne Atwell Show, a multi-media public affairs venue for discourse on issues, events and causes that shape the Sarasota/Manatee region. She will moderate the panel: Academia Can Stimulate the Climate Economy: The Role of Entrepreneurship and Innovation as a Launchpad
Susan Burns, Former Editor-in-Chief Sarasota Magazine 
Susan has been a well-known journalist in Sarasota and Manatee counties for more than 36 years. As an environmental advocate she served as chair of the board of the Florida House Institute in Sarasota, the first green demonstration house in the United States. She will be moderating the panel The Role of Philanthropy in Transforming Threat into Opportunity: Informed Philanthropy
Patricia Healy, Senior VP of Research and  Portfolio Manager at Cumberland Advisors
Patty provides integral market and individual credit research and insight with deep experience in all sectors including a keen interest and expertise in water and wastewater-financing issues. A frequent contributor to water industry discussions, conferences and committees, she is often quoted in the media. She will be a member of the panel  U.S. Economic Opportunities Beckon: A 30,000 ft. View of Meeting the Climate Threat 
This outstanding group of women will join CAC’s top scientists and noted speakers, moderators and panelists in a deep dive into the updated local climate weather forecasts, highlighting the climate threats we face and how we can profitably SHIFT from threat to opportunity and from reaction to prevention after experiencing one of the top ten climate disasters: Hurricane Ian. 

We hope you'll join us and be part of the solution.

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