François Villeroy de Galhau: Central banks and supervisors taking action on climate change

Introductory remarks by Mr François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France, on launch of "A call for action", at the NGFS (Network for Greening the Financial System) conference, Paris, 17 April 2019.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
29 April 2019

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to the Banque de France's premises to kick off this public session of the NGFS conference. We have been waiting for this moment for a while, and here we are. The NGFS is releasing today its first comprehensive report, entitled "A call for action", including its six recommendations.

Thomas Paine, an English-born political philosopher and citizen of the world, said in The American Crisis (circa 1776): "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." Climate change is real, it is global and irreversible. Even if policymakers bear the primary responsibility, we need all hands on deck to tackle climate change, as demonstrated today with this wide audience. Indeed, "preventing the airplane from crashing" remains a continuous endeavour, which is now undertaken by many more institutions every day.

In mainstreaming sustainable finance, finance cannot replace policymakers but finance can help. And as a central banker and supervisor, the Banque de France is determined to help. Last year, in Amsterdam, I even said that this challenge is our "new frontier". This is why we initiated the Network of central banks and supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), during the One Planet Summit on December 2017. And, in 16 months, our club of the willing has increased almost fivefold, from 8 founding members to over 40 members and observers with its Chair Frank Elderson and the Banque de France as Secretariat. We are now represented on the five continents; NGFS members' jurisdictions cover 44% of global GDP and 45% of greenhouse gas emissions. We collectively supervise two-thirds of systemic financial institutions, banks and insurers alike. What appears obvious to most of us today was not previously set in stone.

With our global effort to ensure that the Paris Agreement produces results, the NGFS' first "A call for action" report has the potential to lever the financial system and I hope that it will pave the way for a "paradigm shift" in the wider community of central bankers.  

In my remarks today, I will (i) take stock of central bankers and supervisors' achievements towards tackling climate change, which are significant and (ii) discuss four important tasks that still lie ahead.