Mathew Lee develops climate- and energy-related research for MSCI’s Americas ESG and climate team. He previously was an environmental consultant on corporate sustainability and energy policy and has worked on environmental issues at CDP, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Mathew holds both master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Tufts University in international affairs and environmental studies.
Research and Insights
Articles by Mathew Lee
The Five Stories of ESG: A Recap EpisodePodcast | Oct 20, 2023 |
This week, we are returning to five stories we have already covered to see what progress has been made (if any!): The Adani Group and its attempt to address a short seller report that questioned the group’s governance that led to a massive loss in market share; the United Auto Workers strikes and the continued struggle in the auto industry; the Inflation Reduction Act and the trillions of dollars of capital is supports; what the EPA’s methane rule has done for the gas industry in the US; and how Exxon has changed after having three seats of its 12 member board taken by over by Engine No. 1, an activist investor worried about carbon emissions.
It’s too Damn Hot for InvestorsPodcast | Jul 14, 2023 |
Our planet’s hottest days on record were recorded July 3 to July 5. Global average temperatures rose to a new high of 62.9 Fahrenheit. And even as the days get less sweltering, we all seem to be collectively looking around wondering what might happen next month. It is a collective fear that doesn’t seem to have rattled the market. Even so, today we discuss what the ever increasing temperatures mean for the companies you invest in and what cities might be most affected in the coming decades if the world continues to warm.
Mapping Extreme-Heat Costs for the World’s Largest Cities5 mins read Blog | Jun 21, 2023 |
As temperatures rise, so do the risks from extreme heat. Using hazard percentiles compared across climate scenarios, we assess the cities and sectors that could be most impacted and the costs they could face.
Solar, So Hot Right NowPodcast | May 5, 2023 |
To meet net-zero ambitions, it looks like we’re going to need a whole lot of solar energy, and fast. And a complex value chain is bracing for soaring demand. In this episode, we work through the risks and opportunities for investors and for companies (and it’s not only the ones you’re expecting).
The Shrinking Colorado RiverPodcast | Apr 14, 2023 |
The Colorado river is shrinking and the tens of millions of Americans that rely on the water source are having to deal with the possibility of imposed water cuts. The urban sprawls that have peppered the desert are also in competition with the industries that operate in the area and use the water from the Colorado river: agriculture, semiconductors, and energy. In this week’s episode we discuss what happens when companies no longer have access to the water they need to operate.
The Conflict Within ESGPodcast | Jan 20, 2023 |
What if there is a water utility that saves a city millions of gallons worth of water a day, but also increases its carbon emissions by a large amount? What if a company makes a product that saves people, but it allegedly uses forced labor to do so? Do you avoid these companies and products? Are you a follower of the Ethics of Ambiguity in that the means of production is the same as the ends? In this episode, we discuss the conflicts that arise for investors, impact investors especially, due to the inherent conflicts that are present in the operations of some companies.
From Paris to the Pandemic: Investigating Trends in Industry Emissions5 mins read Blog | Dec 12, 2022 |
Emissions-intensity metrics can help compare the relative contributions of different holdings to a portfolio’s carbon footprint. However, understanding the reasons behind a firm’s changing emissions is key to identifying sustained reduction trends.
Where Power Generators Are Investing Capital2 mins read Quick Take | Sep 7, 2022 |
The EU taxonomy for sustainable activities and U.S. Inflation Reduction Act may give power generators in the EU and U.S. incentives to invest in low-carbon power.
Inflation Reduction Act May Energize Utilities’ Energy Transition5 mins read Blog | Aug 31, 2022 |
The Inflation Reduction Act may help utilities and energy firms reduce direct and indirect emissions through tax-credit incentives designed to scale up the deployment of renewables and accelerate development of frontier decarbonization technologies.
The Inflation Reduction Act: What the massive climate bill means for the energy sectorPodcast | Aug 12, 2022 |
A massive provision called the Inflation Reduction Act was passed in the US Senate on August 7 and is making its way to US President Biden. If signed into law, it hails as one of the largest climates, health care and tax bills ever passed in the US. We discussed some of the most impactful provisions in the climate and energy security provision of act through an ESG lens. We will discuss the changes to the tax code and healthcare in later episodes.
Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and the US Supreme CourtPodcast | Jul 1, 2022 |
The US Customs and Border Protection agency released operational guidance for importing companies on how to comply with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which was signed into law on December 23, 2021. The big ask for companies was for more supply chain transparency. We discussed what UFLPA means for the world’s economy and why supply chain transparency is still so difficult. Then we discussed the most recent ruling US Supreme Court ruling that limited the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
Windy ESG LabelsPodcast | Jun 17, 2022 |
Every fund manager with an ESG fund seems to be under routine but detailed examination by financial regulators into their use of “ESG” in said fund label or how they incorporate ESG in their investment process. We explore what this means for the industry and why it matters. Then, we discuss the current state of the wind energy industry, exploring the companies that are leading the chart for a cleaner energy world.
The US Infrastructure DealPodcast | Nov 12, 2021 |
A USD 1 trillion deal is scheduled to be signed into law by US President Biden on Monday, November 12. The deal, in the White House’s words, is imperative for the US to meet its commitment to reduce U.S. emissions by 50-52% from 2005 levels in 2030, create a 100% carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, and achieve a net-zero economy by 2050. It allocates funds toward updating the US transportation system, its energy infrastructure, its climate resiliency, and its water system. We discussed how these plans move from the political stratosphere to the more habitable land of economic stimulus.
Climatepalooza Pt. 1Podcast | Sep 24, 2021 |
It is climate week this week in New York city. So, we decided to throw a climatepalooza for you all by examining the climate plans of three companies in the most the most pollutive industries. In this episode, we give you a roadmap for the climate plans that have been coming out this week and tell you what to pay attention to as you sort through a company’s emissions reduction plan.