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DAVOS UPDATE: Laurence Fink, Mark Carney, Anne Richards & Others Comment on Climate Risks

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These translations are done via Google Translate

By Yuliya Fedorinova and Jake Rudnitsky

(Bloomberg) Climate change is the key topic at this year’s World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, framed by the face-off between U.S. President Donald Trump and activist Greta Thunberg.“We must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse,” Trump told an audience that included Thunberg, adding that his stewardship of the booming U.S. economy, spurred on by soaring oil and gas production, meant that “this is a time for optimism.”

Thunberg, in typically uncompromising comments made at either end of Trump’s appearance, accused the elite Davos crowd of “empty words and promises” that amounted to doing nothing about climate change.

Bloomberg spoke to top investors, executives and politicians about the issue and found growing concern over the risks and some specific ideas for what to do. (Excerpts edited for clarity.)

Laurence Fink

Chief Executive Officer, BlackRock Inc.

“Clients worldwide have been asking me repeatedly about how they should frame a portfolio with climate-change considerations. It was very clear to me that this is becoming a dominant theme with more of our investors.”

“Climate change is becoming an investment risk.”

“Some energy companies are the biggest investors in sustainable energy. In America, where we are flaring natural gas, we need these companies to have the resources to recapture their carbon.”

“Let’s be clear, we don’t want to run away from anything. What we want to do is be offering choice and giving our clients the ability to navigate around that.”

“Climate change is not going to be fixed by a central bank. It’s going to be fixed by a combination of public and private.”

Mark Carney

Governor, Bank of England

“These issues have moved very swiftly from being corporate social responsibility issues or more niche issues within finance to fundamental value drivers.”

“I think there has been a change on the assessment investment side. I think we see it very clearly in the City in that climate is becoming one of the vectors of foreign investments so you always looked at credit risks, interest rate risk, future capital but transition risk. where is a company on transition, what’s their plan?”

“I am a supporter of the carbon tax but Im not naïve about it. It is one of many policy options that need, instruments, that needs to be used and I think there is an important point where you think about having the right information from companies, having the financial sector thinking about where we are where we need to get to, there are different opinions about the speed of that transition.”

“There are many positive contributions from Greata Thunberg, one of them is just to put on the table some of the facts, or some of the boundaries to this debate so a point she consistently makes which is under the best estimates of the Paris stretch of one, one and a half degrees 66% probability, a central banker would recognize, one current emissions we have about 8 years left on that carbon budget.”

Francesco Starace

Chief Executive Officer, Enel SpA

“We have different carbon prices in different parts of the world. We should have one to make this work.”

“We have technologies today that enable the transition up to a certain penetration of renewables, up to 70-80%. Past that, we want to decide whether we want to kick out the other 20% left, and for that we need storage technologies.”

“I’m not looking at the Green New Deal just as the money Europe has put in there, but take that money and put it on top of the larger sum that’s waiting for green investment opportunities.”


“The problem is the industrial transition money. That’s a little more tricky. The money set aside to manage those industrial sectors that suffer from the green transition: coal, internal combustion engines and others.”


“It is wise that this commission has targeted a large amount of money to target this, and that’s money I think Europe should use.”

Robert Habeck

Co-leader, German Green Party

“Everyone should worry that it is just talk, talk, talk and then they go away. We need to change the system.”

“You can’t divide foreign policy issues from ecological issues. A lot of problems in the world arise from struggles over water, new energy supplies and so on. This is the main shift we have in mind, and of course we would work for Europe. We are the most pro-European party.”

“I know the discussion in the U.S., and while I’m no fan of Donald Trump, the discussion is right. Germany is not doing enough and not spending enough to solve the problems of the future.”

“We are arguing for changing the system by spending more money on a new, green infrastructure.”

”There is this fetishism I would say. We have learned over the last ten years that the best thing you can do is saving your money. Angela Merkel, with all due respect, has taught the people and it will take some time to understand that fiscal policy works in another way.”

Satya Nadella

Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft

“Given the signs that climate change requires immediate action, that this is the decade, we wanted to start and say, ‘let’s make some good commitments.’”

“We do need real breakthroughs. No one company is going to do this.”

Ursula von der Leyen

President, EU Commission

“We want to invest in clean technology, in green new procedures.”

Mark Machin

CEO, Canada Pension Plan

“For every major investment, we insist that the teams identify all the climate change risks.”

Anne Richards

CEO, Fidelity International

“We will ultimately divest in a company if we really think we’re not getting the traction we need.”

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