Mark Carney Needs to Raise the Bar on Climate Action for Financial Institutions

Mark Carney is one of the most prominent and respected Canadians in the world, and for good reason. He is the former governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England. His recent book, Values, offers a thoughtful critique of modern hyper-capitalism and how it must evolve to address unforeseen but perverse problems such as inequality and the climate crisis. And now it’s the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance.

As such, Carney will help shape critical conversations in the coming month. UN Climate Talks in Glasgow around the role of public and private finance in ensuring that the world can meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. He has work to do to ensure that the expectations set for financial institutions in these talks live up to the level of ambition required to address the climate crisis.

As someone who closely follows climate action, that is, not just what the world’s governments and corporations are. saying about climate change, but what are they really doing to reduce carbon pollution in line with a livable planet; I, along with many of us in the climate movement, am increasingly concerned.

Carney’s main role at the UN is to organize large global banks, investors and other financial institutions to join the new Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, also known as GFANZ.

GFANZ and its subgroups have quickly signed many of the world’s largest financial institutions, which, in turn, have pledged to become “net zero” by 2050.

However, many of the financial institutions, such as Citi, HSBC, and MUFG, who have enrolled in GFANZ remain among the the world’s leading sponsors of fossil fuels, and most signatories have not submitted detailed plans to reduce their investments in fossil fuels.

Financial institutions have a habit of bragging about how much capital they are investing in green solutions, seeing this as their main contribution to reaching net zero. Banks understandably want to make money in the newest and fastest growing industries on Earth, which are green industries. That is exactly what banks do.

But with little or no regulations governing what constitutes a green business, and none enforced by GFANZ de Carney, it is difficult to measure the real impact of these investments. And no amount of investment in “solutions” can give us the change we need as long as trillions of dollars are injected into the problem.

With such murky standards for what constitutes a “green” investment, it ends up in a situation like the recent scandal involving the big banks and Enbridge in Canada.

As reported in National Observer of Canada and the Toronto starCanadian banks invested more than $ 1.5 billion in “sustainability-linked” financing for Enbridge. Was this to make something green? No, it was to help them expand their pipeline network, including the completion of the highly controversial Line 3 pipeline. How exactly do they turn this “green”? Well, Enbridge aims to reduce its “emission intensity“In the future, and somehow become a” net zero “company by 2050. Of course, Enbridge only measures the emissions created directly by the company’s operations, called Scope 2, not the emissions created when your oil and gas products actually burn.

If that sounds like a lot greenwash, that’s because it is. Banks are always talking about their new contribution to green finance and conveniently omitting to mention their ongoing dirty financing. Many GFANZ members have continued to invest more money in expanding fossil fuel production, even since joining the alliance. As another embarrassing example, Citi, Commerzbank, and Bank of America, all members of GFANZ, are helping Russian coal giant SUEK expand your coal and power mining business.

Opinion: More than 90 climate justice organizations have written to Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England, demanding that he put more pressure on banks to abandon fossil fuel investments. # COP26 #ClimateAction #FossilFuelFreeFuture

A global consensus – driven by the International Energy Agency Zero net emissions scenario, and quoted by Carney’s boss, the UN secretary general, it has been solidified: to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, there is no room for any further development of fossil fuels.

That means no further expansion of coal, oil or gas is allowed if we want to meet the Paris targets and limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 C. Consequently, there should be no further investment in expanding fuels. fossils.

Unless the ambition of net zero alliances and the entry bar are raised significantly, they risk becoming another exercise in empty green public relations as globally funded emissions continue to rise, putting our climate targets further out. of scope.

Today, more than 90 climate justice organizations have provided a letter, including advertisements in the world’s leading newspapers, calling on Carney to put a fossil fuel-free expansion requirement at the heart of GFANZ.

That is the true gold standard. Allowing global banks and financial giants to get positive press while their funded issues continue to rise is at best a missed opportunity for leadership and at worst a greenwashing exercise for business as usual. . Carney should help the financial world improve.

Leave a Comment