François Villeroy de Galhau: Never too much and never too many - how to transform global discussion into global action against climate change

Speech by Mr François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France, at the Green Swan 2021 Global Virtual Conference, 2 June 2021.

Central bank speech  | 
02 June 2021

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This "Green Swan 2021 Global Virtual Conference" co-sponsored by the Banque de France, the BIS, the IMF and the NGFS should have taken place in Paris, birthplace of the Climate agreement and of the NGFS, but it is my pleasure to welcome you online. Central banks' commitment to the climate cause may seem obvious today. But few issues have seen such a rapid and massive change. My generation changed its mind, I changed my mind. Many of us now share the imperative of Hans Jonas: "In your present choices, include the future wholeness of Man among the objects of your willi ". In Amsterdam three years ago, for the inaugural Conference of the NGFS, I referred to greening finance as our "new frontier for the 21st century". Today, the challenge could almost look inverted: we have gone from the risk of "doing too little, too late" to the criticism by some of "too many doing too much". No: we are not doing too much (I), and we are never too many (II).

But before starting, I would like to draw two useful and cautious lessons from the above-mentioned criticisms. First, we, central bankers and supervisors, cannot do everything by ourselves; we are not the only green game in town. Nothing will replace an appropriate carbon price. Second, we are acting in the very name of our mandate: our consideration for climate change is neither an abuse of our mission, nor a mere militant conviction, and we will act with the same technical credibility and professionalism as we do in our traditional domains.