Status quo is not an option

Angus Satow

This article was originally published at City AM


DEBATE

Q: Is there any merit to Labour’s ‘financial totalitarianism’ plans to tackle climate change?

Yes – Angus Satow is co-founder of Labour for a Green New Deal.

The free market is failing us. Despite enjoying free rein following Margaret Thatcher’s deregulation programme, the UK’s financial system has been completely unable to tackle the climate crisis.

Instead, banks are actively driving us over the climate cliff with their enormous investment in coal, oil and gas. Barclays alone has poured over $85bn into fossil fuel projects in the last three years.

Hope for a liveable future hangs in the balance. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell is totally right to argue for the need to “harness the full might of the Treasury in government to tackle climate change”.

To reach net-zero carbon emissions as quickly as possible, we must mobilise every sector of the economy, including finance. In doing so, we can make sure that bank lending is environmentally and socially productive. 

If critics still aren’t convinced, it’s worth remembering that Threadneedle Street has warned of $20 trillion of assets being at risk from climate change. The status quo is not an option.