Guy Debelle speech on Climate Change and the Economy



Guy Debelle speech group photo - People in front of CPD banner - Sam Hurley, Guy Debelle, Katherine Tapley, Blair Comely, Kate Mackenzie, Travers McLeod

Dr Guy Debelle, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, addressed a public forum on climate change and the economy hosted by the Centre for Policy Development on 12 March 2019.

The speech examined how climate change could impact economic growth, inflation and monetary policy.

Dr Debelle’s speech was the third in a CPD series, hosted by MinterEllison Lawyers, that has included statements on climate change by Geoff Summerhayes from ARPA (2017), John Price from ASIC (2018). It was the first time a senior official from the RBA has given a dedicated speech about climate change and the economy.

The economy is changing all the time in response to a large number of forces. But few of these forces have the scale, persistence and systemic risk of climate change

Dr Guy Debelle

Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia

Download Dr Debelle's speech

Dr Guy Debelle’s speech on climate change and the economy marked the first time that a senior Reserve Bank of Australia official had addressed climate change in their public statements

Dr Guy Debelle's speech

In his remarks, titled Climate change and the economy, Dr Debelle said that “both the physical impact of climate change and the transition are likely to have first-order economic effects.” 

Dr Debelle’s speech emphasised that climate change is a trend change — not a cycle that will wax and wane.

He said climate could have major consequences for financial stability, especially if key transitions are disorderly or abrupt.

Dr Debelle strongly endorsed the need for businesses to implement the recommendations of the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures, emphasising the important role of scenario analysis.

Key lines from Dr Debelle's speech

Panel disucssion

Guy Debelle speech panel photo
Panellists Kate Mackenzie, Blair Comley PSM, and Katharine Tapley join Dr Guy Debelle and CPD's Sam Hurley for a panel discussion

Following his remarks, Dr Debelle was joined for a panel discussion by Kate Mackenzie (European Climate Foundation), Blair Comley PSM (former Secretary of the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) and Katharine Tapley (Head of Sustainable Finance, ANZ).

The panel warmly welcomed Dr Debelle’s speech. Katharine Tapley described it as a ‘waymarker’, stressed how climate change is high up on her clients’ concerns and affirmed the rapid growth of green finance.

Blair Comley highlighted the importance of government policy, and of information provision and access.

Kate Mackenzie stressed the limits to the remaining time window for action and touched on the implications of climate change on the housing market.

The panel discussion was moderated by Centre for Policy Development Policy Director Sam Hurley and accommodated several questions from the audience, including from Laura Tingle (ABC 7.30), Peter Hannam (Sydney Morning Herald) and Emma Herd (Investor Group on Climate Change).

The final question of the night came from Susan Moylan-Coombs, the granddaughter of the first Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Herbert Cole “Nugget” Coombs.

Impact of the Guy Debelle speech

The Reserve Bank’s intervention is another crucial step on climate change by Australia’s leading financial and economic regulators, following earlier public statements bAPRA and ASIC, hosted by the Centre for Policy Development in 2017 and 2018 respectively, on how climate change could affect profitability, financial system stability and corporate governance.

Dr Debelle was introduced by CPD’s CEO, Travers McLeod who highlighted other pivotal speeches on the issue by regulators and central banks in recent years, starting with Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, who described climate change as the ‘tragedy of the horizon’ in September 2015.

Until then, company boards and financial market regulators had given climate change little attention.

Travers acknowledged other people and organisations central to lifting ambition on climate change, some of whom attended the forum, such as Emma Herd from the Investor Group on Climate Change, Ian Learmonth from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, David Atkin from Cbus and Zoe Whitton from Citi Australia.

Guy Debelle speech the media

The Reserve Bank has warned it will have to take the impact of climate change into account when setting interest rates.
In a speech to the Centre for Policy Development in Sydney, the Reserve's deputy governor Guy Debelle said challenges for financial stability may arise from both physical and transition risks of climate change.
Reserve Bank deputy governor Guy Debelle has called for immediate action on climate change to avert an "abrupt, disorderly" economic transition, in a speech that confirmed climate change policy as one of the central bank's key priorities.
Climate change and the conversion to a low-carbon economy or a world with more erratic weather events will have “first-order economic effects”
As a debate over coal and energy fractures the Morrison government, Guy Debelle warned a forum hosted by the Centre for Policy Development on Tuesday that climate change created risks for Australia’s financial stability in a number of different ways.
Speaking at a public forum hosted by the Centre for Policy Development, Mr Debelle said that while the impact of the weather on the Australian economy was not new, the threat of climate change was different.
In a landmark speech to the Centre for Policy Development in Sydney, RBA Deputy Governor Guy Debelle said he was compelled to speak about climate change because of the scale of the impact it would have on the economy.
The Coalition continues to tear itself apart over climate and energy policy, but behind the scenes, financial and business leaders are already taking action.
Investor and business groups have welcomed the first major speech on climate change by the Reserve Bank of Australia, a move seen as "completing the trifecta" of major financial regulators to highlight the potential risks.
The Reserve Bank has confirmed that banks, business and investors must think about the economic impacts of climate change — and that is what it is doing in its monetary policy decisions.
Deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Guy Debelle last week made clear climate change is now a factor in tracking and guiding the economy; he gave no hint it was a UN plot.
It was a landmark speech that sets a precise point from which you can say you are with reality or you have thrown in your lot with idiocy and avarice.