A solution searching for a problem

John Cochrane may be grumpy but he is possibly my favourite living economist.

In this article he makes a number of great points about climate financial risk. Here are two:

The idea that climate change poses a threat to the financial system is absurd, not least because everyone already knows that global warming is happening

Climate regulatory risk is slightly more plausible. Environmental regulators could turn out to be so incompetent that they damage the economy to the point of creating a systemic run.

One hopes that officials working on climate financial regulation in New Zealand understand the significance of knowing what has already been priced, and that regulation has costs and risk and if sufficiently-poorly designed could be a greater threat than the underlying problem. Officials seem to find market failure in a lot of places; regulatory failure less so.

Cochrane concludes:

Climate change and financial stability are pressing problems. They require coherent, intelligent, scientifically valid policy responses, and promptly. But climate financial regulation will not help the climate, will further politicize central banks, and will destroy their precious independence, while forcing financial companies to devise absurdly fictitious climate-risk assessments will ruin financial regulation. The next crisis will come from some other source. And our climate-obsessed regulators will once again fail utterly to anticipate it – just as a decade’s worth of stress testers never considered the possibility of a pandemic.

Read the whole thing.

HT Jim Rose.

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