Mark Carney Leaves Bank of England for U.N. Climate Action Post

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney reacts during the annual Mansion House dinner on June 20, 2019, in London, England. Greenpeace volunteers wearing red evening dress with sashes reading "climate emergency" gatecrashed and disrupted the beginning of Chancellor Philip Hammond's Mansion House speech. …
Simon Dawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has landed on his feet and secured a new role as U.N. special envoy for global climate action.

Carney was hand-picked by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres for the job.

He has been signed up to drive action among financial institutions ahead of the 26th round of global climate talks set down for Glasgow, Scotland in November 2020.

His main focus will be on mobilising investors to join schemes that will help achieve the Paris climate agreement goal of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C.

Carney said the new role would provide “a platform to bring the risks from climate change and the opportunities from the transition to a net-zero economy into the heart of financial decision-making.” He added:

The disclosures of climate risk must become comprehensive, climate risk management must be transformed, and investing for a net-zero world must go mainstream. The Bank of England, the UK government and the UK financial sector can play leading roles in making these imperatives happen.

The new role should come easily to Carney, who has previously threatened environmentally inactive companies with bankruptcy in his personal push to tackle the “climate emergency.”

The global transition needed to address the climate crisis could result in an “abrupt financial collapse,” Carney told the UK-based Guardian newspaper in October, adding delays in curbing emissions only exacerbate the risk of collapse.

Carney, who spent spent 13 years as a private banker at Goldman Sachs, is famous for his pre-referendum alarmism over the consequences of a Brexit vote, said that investors would “punish” companies that fail to take climate change seriously.

Using both a carrot and a stick, Carney suggested financial rewards for those companies that effectively address climate change.

Described by Politico as an “eco-warrior”, Carney, a Canadian, produced a 2015 report together with former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg advising all listed companies to disclose any risk they face from climate change in their annual financial filings.

The report was drafted by the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TFCD), set up by Carney.

Much of the potential gains and losses companies face will be dictated by the actions of attentive investors, Carney proposed, since ethically engaged investors will want to back winners.

“There will be industries, sectors and firms that do very well during this process because they will be part of the solution,” he said. “But there will also be ones that lag behind and they will be punished.”

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