June 13, 2021

the awareness of central bankers

In September 2015, Mark Carney, then Governor of the Bank of England, gave a speech to warn of the risks that climate change posed to financial stability. The Daily Telegraph, the great British conservative daily, reacted with an annoyed headline: “Who made Mr Carney responsible for climate change?” What else? The war in Syria? “ To read the daily, which reflected a widespread idea among central bankers, they had no place in the environmental debate.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Slow progress in finance to help the ecological transition

Six years later, the tone has changed significantly. For three days, from Wednesday 2 to Friday 4 June, a (virtual) conference, organized in particular by the Banque de France, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank for International Settlements, brought together the gotha ​​of central bankers to examine their role in the fight against climate change. The most powerful major financiers on the planet were present: Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Jerome Powell, head of the US Federal Reserve, or Yi Gang, Governor of the Central Bank of China. Today, there is almost a consensus on the subject: central banks want to act. “My generation has changed its mind on this subject, recognizes François Villeroy de Galhau, the governor of the Banque de France. I changed my mind. “

Whether to put in place new infrastructure to produce green energy, or fundamentally change car technology, this will require huge funding.

“Our planet is burning, adds Mme Lagarde. We could look at our mandate and tell ourselves that it is up to others to act. I do not believe that. “ In his eyes, it is obvious that climate change will be a source of economic volatility and financial instability. It therefore falls “Absolutely our mandate” to act, she emphasizes.

This debate is not an obscure esoteric quarrel. Finance, the fuel of the global economy, has a key role to play in the ecological transition. Whether it is necessary to put in place new infrastructure to produce green energy, or to fundamentally change the technology of cars, that will require huge funding. “The financial community was crucial in the industrial revolution of the XIXe century, recalls Luiz Pereira da Silva, Deputy Director General of the Bank for International Settlements. It can play the same role with the climate. “

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