In a world-first case, an Australian court will next month begin hearing from shareholders who have sued a bank for failing to disclose its vulnerability to climate change.
The case highlights the fact that financial institutions around the world have been slow to acknowledge the risk that climate change poses to investments in infrastructure, agriculture, and property. But researchers say the lawsuit also shows that Australia and many other countries are currently unable to forecast the financial risks of climate change.
Shareholders Guy and Kim Abrahams filed the lawsuit on 8 August against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, saying that the institution’s 2016 directors’ report did not adequately inform investors of climate-change risks. Their suit also seeks an injunction to stop the bank from making the same omissions in future annual reports