Frank Elderson: Climate crisis requires urgent action by financial sector and financial supervisors

Opening statement by Mr Frank Elderson, Executive Director of Supervision of the Netherlands Bank, at the Conference "Climate Change. Challenges for the Financial System", organized by the Bank of Spain, Madrid, 11 December 2019.

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

Central bank speech  | 
11 December 2019

At the Climate Conference the Banco de España hosted in Madrid, a panel session was held with as main topic: the challenges for the Financial System posed by climate change. Frank Elderson was invited for this panel and opened the session by stating that the current climate crisis requires urgent action by governments, financial sector and supervisors.


Fifteen of the twenty largest fires in California history have occurred since 2000, since the 1970s, there has been a fivefold increase in the annual burned area in the state. Half of all coral reef systems in the world have been destroyed, putting a quarter of marine life at risk. In Australia, rainfall for January to August 2019 was the lowest on record in Queensland and New South Wales. Tenterfield and Stanthorpe were 77% below the long-term average. Droughts in Southern Africa are causing taps to run dry, and a record 45 million people facing severe food shortages. Victoria Falls in Zambia is experiencing unprecedented droughts and is at risk of drying up because of climate change, warns Zambian president. Average water flow at the popular tourist attraction is down by half in 2019. The recent flooding in Venice left 70% of the historic centre under water. Luigi Brugnaro, mayor of Venice, has estimated the damage will be over €1 billion. Extreme weather events in East African countries like South Sudan, Kenya and Somalia have led to floods that have affected more than three million people, pushing hundreds of thousands from their homes and resulted in more than 250 deaths. And this this is only a short overview of recent media reports.