OTTAWA — The Green Party of Canada welcomes the appointment by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of Mark Carney as Special Envoy on Climate Change and Finance.
Mr. Carney, in his role as Governor of the Bank of England, has consistently raised the issues of financial risk associated with continuing development and exploitation of fossil fuels. In a ground-breaking speech to Lloyds of London in 2015, he brought to the world’s attention the likelihood of most of the world’s fossil fuel assets becoming “stranded”, i.e. valueless, as the dangers of global warming caused by their exploitation became ever more apparent. In an interview with The Guardian newspaper in October 2019, he further warned that “companies and industries that are not moving towards zero-carbon emissions will be punished by investors and go bankrupt.”
"While Canadian politicians keep talking about expanding export of Canadian fossil fuels, Mark Carney has identified the massive financial risk of continuing to add our eggs to that basket," said Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts.
In July of 2019, the Bank of Canada echoed Mr. Carney's concerns: ". . . climate change–driven alteration of projected earnings and expenses could affect the debt repayment capacity and collateral of borrowers and increase credit risk borne by banks and other financial institutions. . . Clear climate policy, a smooth and steady transition and financial disclosure of climate-related risks could contribute to the correct pricing of risks and assets and a more efficient allocation of capital."
Mr. Carney has recommended that financial regulators change rules around corporate disclosure of such risks, so that investors may properly adjust their expectations. In some cases, especially for institutional investors that must meet statutory risk requirements, improved disclosure about climate risk may force divestment.
John Kidder, Finance Critic for the Green Party of Canada, said “Improved disclosures of financial risk due to global warming is an important step in bringing public and investor attention to the investments in fossil fuels still held by many Canadian institutions, including government agencies, pension funds, and universities. We encourage the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to move more rapidly to require such disclosure by fossil fuel companies. We encourage the Governments of Canada, British Columbia, and Alberta to make such disclosures in respect of their increasingly risk-laden current and proposed investments in bitumen pipelines and LNG facilities.”
“Regulators and many investors are on the right track, but still moving far too slowly as the climate emergency accelerates. We welcome the recent action by the Investment Committee of the Board of Governors of the University of British Columbia to recommend divestment of some $360 million in fossil fuel equities. We hope for much more assertive disinvestment as the true risks associated with such investments become more and more obvious. We hope and expect that Mr. Carney’s continuing efforts will be of substantial assistance to regulators as they continue to move to require such material disclosures.”
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