Monday, 2 December 2019

Kudos to Carney (and Good Luck!)

Mark Carney is a banker par excellence, a Canadian boy who made the big time. He served as Governor of the Bank of Canada from 2008 to 2013 and is credited with helping the country weather the recession. He then went on to become Governor of the Bank of England, his term ending next year. He will then take on a new role as the United Nations' special envoy on climate action and climate finance.

He has described his mandate thus: “This provides 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. To do so, the disclosures of climate risk must be comprehensive, climate risk management must be transformed, and investing for a net-zero world must go mainstream.”

He will speak from more than a UN pedestal. Big money has his back. Trillions of dollars controlled by some of the world’s largest institutional investors are shifting toward companies that embrace transition to a low-carbon economy. The Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), a group of 18 central banks, has been studying how the financial system can provide leadership on climate change.

Carney has used both carrot and stick. On the one hand, he has warned companies to be more open about their "climate change footprint" to avoid asset price changes that could destabilise markets. He has also pointed out to insurers that while the number of extreme climate events has risen threefold in the last few decades the cost of claims has risen fivefold. On the other hand, he has said that transition to an environmentally sustainable future provides an opportunity worth trillions of dollars for companies and financiers.

He has emphasized that climate change is a global problem requiring global solutions, and the whole financial sector is central. In his words, "Carbon emissions have to decline by 45 per cent from 2010 levels over the next decade in order to reach net zero by 2050. This requires a massive reallocation of capital."

Carney speaks the language of business—money—and he can speak to what politicians, Conservatives and Liberals, always put first—the economy. This is someone who understands the business community and how investing works, and he can connect those to the demands of climate change.

Furthermore, he will be coming home to Canada where he is desperately needed. If anyone can deal with the excessive influence of the oil industry on our climate change conversation, he can.


The Mound of Sound said...

I do wish him well, Bill. I want to be hopeful but realism, today, is what would have been denounced as alarmist just a few years ago.

It speaks volumes that now underway in Spain is COP25, the 25th UN climate summit. A quarter century and emissions are still growing with both OPEC and the IEA predicting continued growth in fossil fuels through to at least 2040.

At the opening, UN Sec-Gen Gutteres stressed that we have to leave fossil fuels in the ground. There'll be an economic hit, a big one, but it's that or survival.

The best climate scientists of them all published a paper in Nature in which they warned that at least nine climate tipping points are now "active." Their fear is they'll cascade, one compounding the other, which could be the end of our global civilization. Their conclusion is that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. What we're fighting for now is to buy time, that's it. We need to give ourselves a few more years to try to figure something out. "They" are people such as Schellnhuber and Rockstrom - the best we have.

Bill Longstaff said...

"Their fear is they'll cascade, one compounding the other, which could be the end of our global civilization."

As you know from one of my previous posts, Mound, that's my fear as well — a cascade of catastrophes all the way to the ultimate dystopia. Although it's slowly becoming more resignation than fear.

Nonetheless, I cleave to the hope, naively no doubt, that I'm missing something, and civilization will persevere. I've been wrong before.