James Leaton

Current Activities:

The Carbon Tracker Initiative published Unburnable Carbon: Are the financial markets carrying a carbon bubble in July 2011. This demonstrated how the level of proven fossil fuel reserves owned by listed companies exceeded the global carbon budget to stay below 2 degrees of global warming. This has prompted a debate around how and why the capital markets fail to take into account this long-term risk. Our activities include:

  • Carbon bubble analysis and follow on work - National in depth reviews: e.g. Focus on UK listed coal assets; State owned assets
  • Challenging assumptions: Reviewing valuation methodologies for equities (coal and oil); Reviewing credit ratings criteria (coal and oil)
  • Reviewing accounting standards for reserves
  • Engaging with financial regulators regarding climate change as a systemic risk / threat to financial stability - e.g. Bank of England and EU Financial Stability Board letters co-ordinated by Climate Change Capital;
  • Tracking IPOs and related documentation.

I am project director at the Carbon Tracker Initiative - a thinktank looking at how to align financial markets with the climate change agenda. Previously I worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the sustainability and climate change team, advising clients on social and environmental risks and opportunities. Projects included developing sector / thematic investment policies, equator principles training and assessments, and benchmarking studies. Before that I spent 5 years at WWF, focusing on the nexus between energy and finance. Specialist subjects included the Sakhalin II project and tarsands - I wrote the first European review of the subject for WWF with the Co-op - Unconventional Oil: Scraping the Bottom of the barrel. I also worked in responsible investment research at PIRC and Coreratings.
  1. Systemic risk and financial stability
  2. Long termism & fiduciary duty
Email: jleaton[at]carbontracker.org
Twitter: @carbonbubble