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European Central Bank sets up climate change centre

European Central Bank sets up climate change centre

The European Central Bank is to set up a climate change centre, uniting the disparate work streams operating across the bank.

The new unit, which will consist of about ten staff working with existing teams across the bank, will report to president, Christine Lagarde, who oversees the ECB’s work on climate change and sustainable finance.

“Climate change affects all of our policy areas,” says Lagarde. “The climate change centre provides the structure we need to tackle the issue with the urgency and determination that it deserves.”

The centre will shape and steer the ECB’s climate agenda internally and externally, building on the expertise of all teams already working on climate-related topics. Its activities will be organised in workstreams, ranging from monetary policy to prudential functions, and supported by staff that have data and climate change expertise.

The new structure will be reviewed after three years, says Lagarde, as the aim is to ultimately incorporate climate considerations into the routine business of the ECB.

Meanwhile, in the UK, The Bank of England has been criticised by MPs for providing Covid-19 relief finance to carbon-intensive companies without attaching environmental strings.

Philip Dunne, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) says: "We are calling on the Bank to show leadership on climate change. It has a moral responsibility to align its corporate bond purchasing programme with the goals of Paris Agreement; and it should require companies receiving millions of pounds of taxpayers' money to publish climate-related financial disclosures."

A pressure group, Positive Money, estimates that by June last year 56% of Covid funding had been allocated to high-carbon sectors.

MPs want the Bank of England to show leadership in the fight aganst climate change as the UK prepares to host the international COP26 summit in Glasgow in November.

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