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The world needs a plan for stranded assets

The idea that trillions of dollars of ports, coal mines, oil deposits and more might be rendered worthless by efforts to address climate change certainly isn't new. Concerns had been mounting for years before Mark Carney, then governor of the Bank of England, drew attention in 2015 to the risks that "stranded assets" might pose to the financial system. The more the world invested in foresight, he said, the less would be regretted in hindsight.

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England. Governments need to redouble their efforts to understand what is at risk, and not just for energy producers. They should press for still greater transparency and better financial reporting - looking beyond current emissions and taking account of broader financial and economic risks. Foto: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AP

Six years on, too little has been done. The approaching COP26 climate talks have a broader agenda, but the danger that action on climate change might cause financial and economic instability shouldn't be sidelined.

Granted, there's been some progress since Carney's intervention. More companies are trying to measure their emissions, set targets for abatement, and monitor their climate-endangered assets. A climate disclosure task force (chaired by Bloomberg LP founder Michael Bloomberg) has helped shed light by improving financial reporting. Investors are asking more questions. Economists have been studying the threat to financial stability...

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