“Climate change—to which no one is immune—continues to be a catastrophic risk. Although lockdowns worldwide caused global emissions to fall in the first half of 2020, evidence from the 2008–2009 financial crisis warns that emissions could bounce back,” the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks report 2021 warns. “A shift towards greener economies cannot be delayed until the shocks of the pandemic subside.” Climate action failure is the most impactful and second most likely long-term risk identified in the report.
That’s why firing bullets from a gun is more dangerous than tossing them by hand. Why skydivers use parachutes. Why roads have speed limits. And why it’s critical to understand how quickly human activity will drive the climate to change, compared with past rates. Will we cause gradual shifts that civilization and life on Earth can adapt to — or are we igniting a wildfire that can’t be outrun?
On 1 January a new listing rule came into effect (per final text of new LR 9.8.6R(8) as published by the FCA on 21 December 2020) requiring commercial companies with a UK premium listing to include a statement in their annual financial report setting out whether they have made disclosures therein that are consistent with the recommendations of the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Failure to do so must be accompanied by both an explanation and an action plan for providing such disclosures in future.
The FSB created the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) in 2015 to develop a set of voluntary disclosure recommendations for use by companies in providing decision-useful information to investors, lenders and insurance underwriters about the climate-related financial risks that companies face.
The FSB therefore welcomes the recommended approach by the Trustees of the IFRS Foundation to initially focus on standards for climate-related financial disclosures, as set out in the September 2020 IFRS Consultation Paper on Sustainability Reporting. The initial focus on climate-related information would be appropriate given the growing interest of investors in the topic for financial risk management and the importance of global consistency in the actions that are already beginning to be taken by national and regional authorities to develop requirements and guidance in this area.
On 8 December 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued Guidelines on Environmental Risk Management (the Guidelines) tailored to financial institutions (FIs) in three sectors: asset management, banking and insurance. The Guidelines are intended to drive the transition to an environmentally sustainable economy by enhancing the integration of environmental risk considerations in FIs’ financing and investment decisions and promoting new opportunities for green financing.
The Federal Reserve has made a move that cements its nod to the risk that climate change could pose to the financial system.
In a statement released Tuesday, the central bank said it has formally joined a global peer group that is addressing climate’s impact on finance. The Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System, as it’s called, was formed in 2017 and now has 83 members from around the world. The U.S. already had been an informal participant for more than a year.
Canada’s governments and corporate leaders are failing to account for the growing and costly impacts that the climate crisis will wreak on the country’s physical landscape and infrastructure, and their lack of foresight will drive up the cost of adaptation in the future.
In early November, superannuation fund Rest and 25-year-old member Mark McVeigh agreed to settle McVeigh’s case against Rest related to handling of climate change risk. McVeigh’s claims included that the trustee of Rest had breached its duty to exercise the care, skill, and diligence required of a professional superannuation fund trustee in failing to identify and manage climate related risks to the fund’s investments. He also claimed that the failure to identify and manage climate related risks was a breach of the trustee’s duty to protect the best financial interests of beneficiaries. This litigation and settled outcome is significant, not only to Australian superannuation fund trustees, but to fiduciary investors with long term investment horizons globally.
As scientists and scholars from around the world, we call on policymakers to engage with the risk of disruption and even collapse of societies. After five years failing to reduce emissions in line with the Paris climate accord, we must now face the consequences. While bold and fair efforts to cut emissions and naturally drawdown carbon are essential, researchers in many areas consider societal collapse a credible scenario this century. Different views exist on the location, extent, timing, permanence and cause of disruptions, but the way modern societies exploit people and nature is a common concern.