So I’m rather interested in the Stuart Kirk saga not just by virtue of my job, my sense of mission and my interests but also because of another insight about the situation in financial industry through that presentation.
It reflects that the finance industry is still considerably dettached from the struggle on climate change. And regulations will have to bite them harder, or the pricing of externalities, and so on. The disclosure and reporting required by authorities is precisely one of the ways that allows the finance industry to influence climate outcomes; but I guess Stuart Kirk was actually deliberately being ironic about it.
If you go through this presentation closely, you’ll notice to some extent that he is actually mocking the traditional frameworks of analysis and approaches towards trying to convince investors to lend a hand to do something about climate by talking about the potential losses. Well, the sheer uncertainty around the climate impact (eg. various impacts cancelling each other out) will of course encourage skepticism, but that’s honestly missing the point.
The point is that finance has a role in shaping our future, one that involves a combination of climate change mitigation and also adaptation, and if we don’t start measuring these attributes and the impact of our financial decisions on these attributes, we are at risk – not financially but physically. A single war may not destroy the global economy, but it can destroy a single economy, and many lives. To measure and look at our lives through just the financial markets is a grave mistake.