Although legal risks related to climate change are often thought to focus on the fossil fuel industry, either with respect to government enforcement or private civil litigation, the potential risks extend into other areas as well.
For example, as reflected in this Politico article, some banks and similar institutions are beginning to price the risk of climate change into mortgage-backed securities, as home mortgages issued in areas vulnerable to climate change (due to risk of floods, wildfires, sea-level rise, etc.) are perceived as riskier investments.
It seems probable that private companies will encounter litigation in near future revolving around failures to take climate change into account when investing in securities, real estate, or other sectors vulnerable to climate change risks. Being proactive on this front will enable more robust legal defenses in the future.
Nonetheless, a growing number of investors are developing tools and methods to decipher which securities contain greater concentrations of mortgages in areas vulnerable to floods, storms and wildfires to either short or snub those specific offerings. The fear is that, if the properties are destroyed, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would indeed pay off the mortgages immediately. But that would deprive investors of the benefits of interest over the longer term.