July 2019: Living in a world on fire

In 1992 Al Gore published Earth in the Balance, his first book on global warming. He wrote, ‘We can believe in the future and work to achieve it and preserve it, or we can whirl blindly on, behaving as if one day there will be no children to inherit our legacy.’ In the 27 years since its release, countless communiqu├ęs and reports have been issued promoting ‘sustainable’ investment and transitioning to a ‘green’ economy.

And yet, more than half the carbon exhaled by the burning of non-renewable fuels has been emitted since Gore penned those words. By dint of either ignorance or apathy, we are continuing to ‘whirl blindly on’ towards catastrophe.

The only way seriously to transform the global economy is through urgent policy action. Thankfully many influential policy-makers understand the urgency of climate action. The Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System illustrates well the increasing attention that world leaders are paying to the damage climate change is wreaking.

The challenge that policy-makers face is nothing short of renovating modern capitalism so that it no longer unduly rewards the extraction of fossil fuels. Continuing down the current path is unconscionable.

Key contributors to this edition of The Bulletin include:

  • Sarah Breeden, executive director for international banks supervision at the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority;
  • Ma Jun, special adviser to the governor of the People’s Bank of China and chairman of China’s Green Finance Committee;
  • Makhtar Diop, vice-president for infrastructure at the World Bank;
  • Frances Barney, head of global risk solutions at BNY Mellon Asset Servicing.

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