OTTAWA (Reuters) – The incoming administration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the United States may be more willing to work with Canada on addressing climate change, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said on Tuesday.
Macklem’s remarks followed a presentation where he noted climate change would have a profound impact on Canada’s economy and said the country must mobilize quickly to mitigate the threat as well as capitalize on opportunities.
“I think there is a potential, with a Biden-Harris administration, for a more integrated and more rational North American approach to climate change,” Macklem said during a Q&A session that followed his presentation.
The United States is Canada’s largest trading partner, though the relationship has been fraught at times during the presidency of Donald Trump. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to make his country a leader in global efforts to curb climate change.
Macklem said such a shift in the United States could increase competitive pressure on Canadians firms, though he encouraged businesses on both sides of the border to “take advantage of our historical links and work together” on climate issues.
“I think there is some risk, but there is also some opportunity,” he said.
Earlier, Macklem said Canada’s financial system is critical to helping businesses and households manage climate change risks, both in terms of extreme weather and the transition to low-carbon growth.
“Our financial system proved to be resilient during the global financial crisis and has been a key shock absorber so far through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Macklem said. “We need to ensure the financial system is just as resilient in the face of climate change.”
With the world facing more frequent and more intense severe weather events, and scientists warning that temperatures will continue to warm, the need to address climate change is becoming more urgent, Macklem said.
“We need to position Canada to seize the climate-smart opportunities that consumers, workers and investors are looking for,” he said. “But to mitigate the threat and capitalize on the opportunity, we all need to mobilize.”
($1 = 1.3074 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Lincoln Feast.)