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The Editors

The World Needs a Plan for Stranded Assets

Fighting climate change involves financial and economic risk. Governments and investors must do more to prepare.

Sign of the times.

Sign of the times.

Photographer: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The idea that trillions of dollars of ports, coal mines, oil deposits and more might be rendered worthless by efforts to address climate change certainly isn’t new. Concerns had been mounting for years before Mark Carney, then governor of the Bank of England, drew attention in 2015 to the risks that “stranded assets” might pose to the financial system. The more the world invested in foresight, he said, the less would be regretted in hindsight. 

Six years on, too little has been done. The approaching COP26 climate talks have a broader agenda, but the danger that action on climate change might cause financial and economic instability shouldn’t be sidelined.