Bank of England governor spells out dangers of climate change and severe weather to world economies

Credit: PA Wire

Climate change and increasingly severe weather pose a grave risk to financial systems and long-term prosperity, the governor of the Bank of England has warned.

In a speech to business leaders Mark Carney said that by the time climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability "it may already be too late".

The economist said that since the 1980s the number of weather-related loss events for insurers had tripled, with inflation-adjusted losses rising from $10 billion per year to $50bn per year.

He said: "Our societies face a series of profound environmental and social challenges.

"The combination of the weight of scientific evidence and the dynamics of the financial system suggest that, in the fullness of time, climate change will threaten financial resilience and longer-term prosperity."

He told the audience that the "catastrophic impacts of climate change" would be felt beyond the "traditional horizons" of most people in the industry, which would result in "imposing a cost on future generations that the current generation has no direct incentive to fix".

He added:"The horizon for monetary policy extends out to 2-3 years. For financial stability it is a bit longer, but typically only to the outer boundaries of the credit cycle - about a decade.

"In other words, once climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability, it may already be too late."

The Governor spoke as the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) released a report, The Impact of Climate Change On The UK Insurance Sector.

Barry Gardiner, Labour's shadow energy and climate change minister, said: "This report must not be seen simply as an analysis of the problem it must be treated as an urgent call to action.

"The Government must now stop undermining low carbon technologies like solar and onshore wind, put in place a new adaptation plan for climate resilience, and encourage pension funds to withdraw their investment from companies that are heavily exposed to fossil fuel risk."