Bank of Canada governor says climate change poses risks to financial systems

Bank of Canada listed climate change among top economic worries in its May financial system health report

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz wasn’t asked about climate change risks at a discussion about economic change and emerging risks on Thursday, so he brought them up himself.

“It’s about the transition risk, right, as everyone’s portfolio and all their lending practices kind of converge on a different climate trend line, that that could have significant consequences for financial systems,” he said.

“So we need to model that and do stress testing and so on, and so we’re building new tools for that.”

His comments came the same week the Bank of Canada outlined its research priorities on the potential impacts of climate change, including physical risks of intensifying weather, the financial risks of stranded assets, and wider risks to the system of increased volatility and unpredictability.

ALSO READ: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

The report by Miguel Molico, senior research director at the bank’s Financial Stability Department, notes that carbon-intensive sectors like oil and gas could be hurt by significant changes in pricing in a transition away from a carbon economy.

“Maintaining the warming below 2.0 degrees Celsius implies that some of the existing fossil fuel reserves will become stranded assets,” he wrote.

“These transition risks are of particular significance for Canada given its endowment of carbon-intensive commodities, the current importance of some of these carbon-intensive sectors for the Canadian economy, and the energy needs for cooling and heating.”

More frequent or severe extreme weather events, or an abrupt transition to a low-carbon economy could have significant impacts on the Canadian financial system, with potential systemic consequences, he said.

Molico said that while much is unknown about the potential impacts of climate change, its physical effects could reduce global annual GDP by 1.5 to as much as 23 per cent by end of the century.

In May, the Bank of Canada for the first time listed climate change among the top worries for the economy as part of its financial system health report.

Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bella Coola under another winter storm warning

Freezing rain is expected by this afternoon

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky Nimpkish ferry sailing

The ferry docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Heiltsuk Nation calls probe into arrest of Indigenous man at bank ‘woefully inadequate’

Maxwell Johnson and his 12-year-old granddaughter had been at a Bank of Montreal branch in Vancouver on Dec. 20

Indigenous athletes invited to apply for Team BC

The Games will be the largest multi-sport event ever held in Halifax

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in lingerie store

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

Most Read