Sustainable Finance and Climate Risk

We Are on the Bell Lap: Top 5 Takeaways from the IPCC's New Climate Science Report

Alyson Slater, Senior Director, Sustainable Finance, Global Risk Institute
Bruce Choy, Managing Director, Research, Global Risk Institute
Peter van Dijk, Executive in Residence, Global Risk Institute


On the close of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, we now turn our attention to another race in which the bell is loudly tolling to say that we have come to the final lap. Today’s release of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows that greenhouse gas emissions by humans has already caused the Earth to warm 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, and will likely hit 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040 if we continue on the current trajectory, a decade sooner than previously thought, and with catastrophic impacts. The sobering reading has been compiled by over 200 scientists and is supported by 14,000 research papers in what could be the most extensive research collaboration ever conducted. Results clearly point to a narrowing of the path that can be taken to stabilize the planet’s climate. Coordinated global action across all fronts is urgently needed in the immediate term.

Canadian financial institutions provide capital and leverage to the country’s societal and economic activity. Accordingly, they must play their part in managing and mitigating climate risk and accelerating low carbon opportunities. The following are five key takeaways from the IPCC report for financial institutions.

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We are on the Bell Lap: Top 5 takeaways from the IPCC's New Climate Science Report