Companies have been promising for years to come clean about their exposure to climate risk. But 2020 may prove to be the moment investors finally force them to do it. That, in turn, will put the onus on auditors to step up and challenge the way managers assess — or obfuscate — the affect of decarbonisation on financial accounts. 

As things stand, many big investors fear companies in energy-intensive industries are failing to recognise the potential hit to asset values posed by climate risk. Some utilities may be failing to depreciate thermal power plants quickly enough, given that many might need to be scrapped to help meet the 2015 Paris agreement target to keep global warming well below 2°C.

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