Amidst a global public health and economic crisis brought on by the fast spreading novel coronavirus, British investment bank and financial services company, Barclays, announced on Monday its plans for a climate finance resolution. The bank plans to bring down its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 and only finance projects that align with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Corporate finance expert John Tobin is professor of practice at the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University and a conservation finance working group leader at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. He says Barclays’ climate finance resolution shows that while the pandemic will be globally devastating and disruptive, financial institutions are still keeping sight on the long-term challenges posed by climate change.


Tobin says:

“While our collective attention is focused on the pandemic now, and is likely to be in the coming months, the climate change issue is unfolding at a completely different time scale. The short-term impacts of the pandemic on the real economy are going to be severe, but in a year or two the economy will be licking its proverbial wounds and we will look back at this as a terrible episode.

“But the long-term challenges posed by climate change and biodiversity loss will still be with us. Barclays’ actions simply reflect the fact that financial institutions recognize that the climate issue is critical and is long-term.”

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