A climate catastrophe can be avoided, but only with a rapid and sustained investment in companies and projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To the surprise of many, this has already begun. Investors are abandoning fossil-fuel companies and other polluting industries and financing businesses offering climate solutions. Rising risks, evolving social norms, government policies, and technological innovation are all accelerating this movement of capital.
Bruce Usher offers an indispensable guide to the risks and opportunities for investors as the world faces climate change. He explores the role that investment plays in reducing emissions to net zero by 2050, detailing how to finance the winners and avoid the losers in a transforming global economy. Usher argues that careful examination of climate solutions will offer investors a new and necessary lens on the future for their own financial benefit and for the greater good. Companies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions will create great wealth, and, more importantly, they will provide a lifeline for humanity.
Grounded in academic and industry research, Usher's insights bring clarity to a complex and controversial topic while illuminating the people behind the numbers. This book sets out a practical and actionable plan for investors that will alter the course of climate change.
Part I. Momentum
1. Prosperity, with a Catch
2. Investing in the Era of Climate Change
Part II. Climate Change Solutions
4. Renewable Energy
5. Electric Vehicles
6. Energy Storage
7. Green Hydrogen
8. Carbon Removal
9. Better Together
Part III. Investing Strategies
10. Risk Mitigation
12. ESG Investing
13. Thematic Impact Investing
14. Impact First Investing
Part IV. Investing in Real Assets
15. Renewable Energy Projects
16. Real Estate
17. Forestry and Agriculture
Part V. Investing in Financial Assets
18. Venture Capital
19. Private Equity
20. Public Equities
21. Equity Funds
22. Fixed Income
Part VI. The Investor’s Dilemma
23. The Investor’s Dilemma
24. Best Practices
25. Why Investment Matters
26. The Future
Bruce Usher is a professor of professional practice and the Elizabeth B. Strickler ’86 and Mark T. Gallogly ’86 Faculty Director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School, where he teaches on the intersection of financial, social, and environmental issues. He was previously an entrepreneur and worked in financial services in New York and Tokyo. Usher is the author of Renewable Energy: A Primer for the Twenty-First Century (Columbia, 2019).
"One of the top ten business books of the fall. [...] Investors looking to do well by doing good will find this a valuable resource."
– Publishers Weekly
"Climate change and our collective response to it will affect every aspect of our lives and every industry – from energy, to transportation, food and agriculture, construction, manufacturing, consumer goods, and more. We are in a period of disruption, change, and opportunity. Bruce Usher provides expert insight into the investment landscape and opportunities that will both help the planet and create wealth. Business practitioners and MBA students alike will learn much from this book."
– Costis Maglaras, dean and David and Lyn Silfen Professor of Business, Columbia Business School
"This is a much-needed book on a vital topic. Usher brilliantly captures the critical role of the private sector in addressing the climate crisis. Investing in the Era of Climate Change is a comprehensive guide to investing in climate solutions, relayed in an engaging and accessible style. This book is a must-read for anyone in this field, written by one of its pioneers."
Jason Bordoff, cofounding dean, Columbia Climate School, and director, Center on Global Energy Policy
"In this extraordinary distillation of the complexity of climate change and the power of capital to change its trajectory, Usher offers a robust understanding of the key climate-related investment opportunities, pitfalls, and dilemmas. A thought-provoking and must-read book for anyone who cares about solutions to the most intractable issue of our time."
– Jacques Perold, CEO, CapShift, and former president, Fidelity Management & Research Company
"Addressing the threat to the planet created by rising CO2 levels is an escalating imperative that requires a global solution at a time when countries are increasingly more protective, insular, and arguably self-interested. In Investing in the Era of Climate Change, Bruce Usher brilliantly lays out the problem of climate change and explains why global private capital can, should, and will be the solution. Every investor should read this book to gain insights on ways they can contribute while generating outperformance – and because ignoring the threat will put their portfolios at significant risk."
– Kim Lew, president and CEO, Columbia Investment Management Company
"Bruce Usher has a unique ability to connect the history of climate change with its present and future states. Even more importantly, Usher has found a way to distill a daunting subject into an engaging discussion of sustainability that can be enjoyed by experts and laypeople alike. Investing in the Era of Climate Change's presentation of the industry's vast array of potential solutions – both practical and aspirational – is likely the most comprehensive and comprehensible available today."
– Benjamin Baker, managing director, Greenbacker Capital
"Climate change is the main challenge facing investors this century. The greening of the financial sector has been so sudden that there are still very few books that cover this important topic. Investing in the Era of Climate Change by Bruce Usher, a pioneer investor and instructor in climate change solutions, provides in a user-friendly way a comprehensive analysis of all the challenges climate change poses for investors. It is an invaluable reference, and I will be sure to use it for my classes on climate finance."
– Patrick Bolton, Barbara and David Zalaznick Professor of Business, Columbia Business School
"Investing in the Era of Climate Change draws from a wide variety of sources and is both well researched and highly readable."
– Enterprising Investor
"Argues that the falling cost and rising competitiveness of wind power, solar farms and other clean energy sources is good news for capitalists and the climate alike."
– Financial Times
"Bruce Usher offers an indispensable guide to the risks and opportunities for investors as the world faces climate change. This book sets out a practical and actionable plan for investors that will alter the course of climate change."
– Yale Climate Connections