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Responsible finance: The research note that could be a tipping point

It has taken the climate crisis to bring our collective focus onto the role of financing and the role of banks.


Climate angst surely went up a few notches in February when Extinction Rebellion spokesman Rupert Read sent a copy of a January JPMorgan client research note to members of the UK press.

The report looked at the impact of climate change on the economy and stated in apocalyptic tones that “something will have to change at some point if the human race is going to survive.”

Why this research note received more traction – and outrage – than others put out by banks is not entirely clear. Perhaps because it refers directly to human extinction, rather than only the dislocation of certain demographics in developing countries?

In which case, perhaps human extinction should be mentioned more often so consumers in the west understand that climate change is not someone else’s problem.

Perhaps it is also because JPMorgan is known to be a large fossil fuel financier. Or perhaps it is just that Read insinuated the report was secret and that he was ‘leaking it’, rather than it being simply a research note.


Climate primer

But there are certainly many other research notes from financial institutions such as Bank of America, UBS, HSBC, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs that highlight the enormity of the climate challenges in no uncertain terms.

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