Wall Street Has a $1 Trillion Climate Risk

(Bloomberg) --

Global efforts to slow climate change could cost the financial industry $1 trillion.

That’s how much the consultancy Oliver Wyman estimates banks, insurers and asset managers stand to lose in the event of more aggressive policies, such as a carbon tax. Drastic changes could prompt a wave of defaults among polluting companies, which firms are not fully considering as they decide where to invest and lend, the consultancy said.

While scientists have warned of a warming planet for decades, only now is climate change rising up the agenda of the finance industry. Higher temperatures and efforts to cut emissions dominated discussions at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last month. Central banks in the U.K., Singapore and Australia are among those planning to test the industry’s exposure to climate stress.

Banks are also underestimating the significant income that could be earned from the shift to a greener economy: the revenues available from sustainable investing and financing could be as much as $150 billion in the coming five to 10 years, according to the report.

“The financial risks are material and need to be incorporated into decision-making, while sustainable finance is one of the most promising areas for revenue growth in the industry at the moment.” said Oliver Wyman partner James Davis.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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