Sarah Breeden: Leading the change - climate action in the financial sector

Speech by Ms Sarah Breeden, Executive Director of UK Deposit Takers Supervision of the Bank of England and Executive Sponsor for Climate change, at the UK Finance Webinar held during London Climate Action Week, London, 1 July 2020.

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

Central bank speech  | 
17 July 2020

Good afternoon everyone. I would like to thank UK Finance for inviting me to speak today during London Climate Action Week on what I consider to be the defining issue of our time - climate change.

I realise that this may seem an odd claim for a central banker to make in the middle of a global pandemic that has already led to the largest fall in UK growth in over three hundred years.1 But our economy and financial system, with the right support, should eventually recover from Covid-19. In contrast, climate change, left unchecked, will lead to irreversible harm for generations to come. That demands our continued attention even as we deal with the current crisis.

We are at the start of a critical decade for climate action where the decisions we take today will shape the future of our planet for decades to come. 'Action' being the key word. If the previous decade was marked by a 'call to action', then this coming decade must answer it.