David Littleproud
David Littleproud (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

In another sign of how the real world is rapidly undermining the fantasies of the climate denialists in the Morrison government, the government’s own prudential regulator has directed financial institutions to elevate their recognition of climate change risks given the threats’ “irreversible” and “unprecedented” nature.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) yesterday released a draft guidance on managing climate change risks for banks, insurers and superannuation funds on the basis that “the financial risks associated with climate change have a number of elements that distinguish them from other financial risks, and necessitate a strategic approach”. These include the “the potential for irreversible changes”, “the far-reaching impact that climate risks pose” and “the unprecedented nature of climate change”.

The draft guidance doesn’t create new requirements or obligations. But as APRA chair Wayne Byres said, “since the Australian government became a party to the Paris Agreement, APRA has been raising awareness of climate-related risks to the financial sector. Given the unique and long-term nature of the risks, however, processes to measure, monitor and manage climate-related financial risks are still developing.”

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The proposals are aligned with the recommendations from the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

Meanwhile the Morrison government is getting on with funding more fossil fuels, approving coal mines and peddling scams like carbon capture and storage. It has also attacked financial institutions for recognising climate risks.

Last October, Morrison ministers led by National David Littleproud’s attacked the ANZ for daring to release an updated climate change statement that outlined plans to prepare for zero net emissions and to incorporate that goal into its lending policies.

The move brought the ANZ in line with rivals Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank, but Littleproud actually threatened ANZ with the withdrawal of government deposit guarantees — a major threat to the stability of the Australian financial system.

By coincidence, Littleproud was a bank branch manager for ANZ’s competitor NAB in regional Queensland for 12 years. So you’d assume Littleproud would have come out hard against APRA for further encouraging financial institutions to address climate risk, which he clearly regards as a fiction invented by warmists, Greens and other forces of evil. But the only thing Littleproud had to say was to declare victory in a wine war with Canada.

Perhaps Littleproud has been told to stop threatening the stability of the financial system, or to pull his head in on the vaccination rollout given that’s been so awful a disaster for Morrison that he’s been forced to turn to the states for help.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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