Andrew Bailey: The time to push ahead on tackling climate change

Speech by Mr Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, at the Corporation of London Green Horizon Summit, Mansion House, virtual event, 9 November 2020.

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

Central bank speech  | 
09 November 2020

It is a great pleasure at least to have the opportunity to meet virtually. Today, I want to focus on how we ensure that we get back to the vital subject of tackling climate change and the role of the financial system.

First, I want to say what a pleasure it is to be sharing a platform today - so to speak - with Mark Carney. As I have told Mark quite a few times, timing is everything, and midnight on March 15th was an interesting choice of date to hand over as Governor. But let me also say that in everything that has happened since at the Bank we have benefitted from the many things that Mark did during his term, and for that we owe him great thanks. Mark has gone on to push forward his deep commitment to tackling climate change, and the role of the financial system in doing that.

There have been times since March when we have faced very stark decisions in the face of the Covid crisis. We decided in the spring to prioritise preserving people's jobs and livelihoods in this emergency, and as far as possible the businesses that provide employment and the life blood of the economy. These short-term interventions did not discriminate on the basis of climate change. I believe that was the right response. In the face of such an emergency in all conscience it was not right to say to people that they would be denied a livelihood because their employment was the wrong sort for the climate. I say this very starkly, because there is no point hiding from reality.