BIS and NGFS announce Green Swan conference

April 22, 2021|Written by Graham Caswell

The two primary international fora for central banks and financial supervisors working on climate change have come together to host a major global conference focusing on practical action to counter climate-related risks to economies and the financial system.

The Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) have joined the International Monetary Fund and the Banque de France to co-sponsor the Green Swan Conference, to be held on 2-4 June 2021. The conference will showcase existing climate risk initiatives and identify further practical solutions to the risks associated with climate change.

Named after the BIS book on the unprecedented nature of climate risk, the term green swan is the climate-related equivalent of a black swan. Nassim Nicholas Taleb coined the term black swan to describe events with major effects that come as a surprise and are recognised only in hindsight.

The deep novelty, uncertainty and nonlinearity of both physical and transitional climate risks means their chances of occuring are not reflected in past data, making the potential for a green swan event unknowable with any accuracy.

The conference offers a wide-ranging programme to address the question of how the financial sector can take immediate action against climate-related risks. Sessions feature a range of high-level speakers from central banks, financial institutions, academia and government, with a speech by former Bank of England governor Mark Carney.

Discussion topics include biodiversity, organisational leadership, redistributive impacts and a series of panels on climate-related metrics, methodologies and policies. Although invitation-only, selected sessions from the event will be livestreamed on the BIS website.

Although published only last year, the BIS book has had a significant influence on central bankers’ understanding of the urgency and scale of the climate crisis, and the term has become widely used in climate risk discussion.

This conference builds on that momentum and promises to be a pivotal event in the development of central banking that is aligned with the science-based targets and pathways of the Paris Agreement.

This page was last updated May 28, 2021

Share this article