Anthony Hobley named CEO of Carbon Tracker Initiative

Leading international banking and climate finance lawyer takes the reins at investment-focused environmental think-tank

3 December: The Carbon Tracker Initiative – the London-based financial think-tank that has identified the need to prevent a ‘carbon bubble’ becoming the next systemic risk for the financial markets – has announced the appointment of its first CEO.

Anthony Hobley, a London-based Partner at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, and Global Head of its Sustainability and Climate Change Practice, will formally take the reins on 1st February.

“Concerns about climate exposures and stranded assets are growing within the investment community, and I am keen to build on that momentum,” says Hobley. “Our message is that investors and their advisors have a duty of care to their clients and beneficiaries – and ignoring the climate change issue is putting value at risk.”

The carbon arithmetic has been clear for many years; if dangerous climate change is to be avoided, a large percentage of the world’s fossil fuel reserves will have to remain in the ground. This challenges the assumptions around demand and price for the fossil fuel commodities produced by the world’s oil, gas and coal mining companies – and therefore around their valuation, creditworthiness and business models.

Yet the capital markets have failed to factor in these risks and exposure continues to grow. In response, Mark Campanale and Nick Robins developed the ‘unburnable carbon/stranded assets’ thesis and, in 2009, Carbon Tracker was set up. Its seminal report, Unburnable Carbon, quantified these exposures at the company and stock market level for the first time.

Carbon Tracker’s thesis has been picked up and developed by financial analysts at HSBC, Citi and Standard & Poor’s, among others, while its work on stranded assets has led to partnering with investors to scrutinise fossil fuel capital expenditure plans. Its latest output – a review of the economic and environmental risks posed by the Keystone XL pipeline – demonstrates the increasing financial analysis capabilities Carbon Tracker will employ.

“Anthony joins us at a crucial time in our development,” says Campanale. “Investors are increasingly asking the companies in which they invest to explain how they are managing climate risk, and how they can justify their capex plans in the light of fundamental changes to energy supply and demand. It is our role to bring these issues to wider attention, and to facilitate these conversations.”

“In a quarter of a century of work on the climate issue, I have never seen an intervention gain traction so rapidly and deeply as Carbon Tracker’s first report did in July 2011,” says chairman Jeremy Leggett, the founder of leading UK solar company Solar Century. “To build on the brilliance of Mark Campanale’s game-changing work on carbon-fuel stranded-asset risk, we are thrilled to be joined now by a world-class CEO. Anthony’s skills are the perfect amplifier of the existing team’s amazing pooled talents.”

Hobley has held posts at a number of large international law-firms and was General Counsel at boutique investment bank Climate Change Capital. In addition to his legal career, he has been involved in establishing and leading a number of industry associations, including the Climate Markets & Investment Association, of which he is the current president.

The Carbon Tracker Initiative has been widely recognised for its work in recent years, including by Investment Week, which awarded Carbon Tracker its 2013 Environmental, Ethical, Social & Governance Investment Award for Innovation, and by online publication BusinessGreen, which named it NGO of the Year.

About Carbon Tracker Initiative
The Carbon Tracker Initiative is a think-tank established by its directors to align the capital markets with efforts to tackle climate change. Carbon Tracker has demonstrated the incompatibility of current capital expenditure plans in the energy sector with delivering emissions reductions to improve air quality and prevent climate change. This was captured in its 2013 report: ‘Unburnable Carbon: Wasted Capital and Stranded Assets’.

Carbon Tracker tweets at @CarbonBubble and Anthony Hobley at @arhobley