COP26: Carney says ‘there’s not a green switch you can flip
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The former Governor of the Bank of England and the Prime Minister’s finance adviser for the COP26 climate summit said on Wednesday “right here, right now is where private finance draws the line”. On “finance day” of the climate change conference, Mr Carney described the Chancellor’s announcement of $130trillion of private capital that could be unlocked for the move to a green economy a “watershed” moment.
“So now, it’s [about] plugging it in,” he added.
However, his remarks drew criticism from Martin Daubney, deputy leader of the Reclaim Party, who said Mr Carney was “back with more apocalyptic doom”, describing his comments as “staggering”.
Tweeting this afternoon, Mr Daubney added: “they will make the working classes bankroll their globalist follies!”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in a speech that there were 450 firms which controlled around 40 percent of global assets and who were willing to align themselves to the 1.5C global warming limit decided in the Paris Agreement.
He told the conference: “This is a historic wall of capital for the net zero transition around the world.
“What matters now is action: to invest that capital in our low carbon future.
“To do that, investors need to have as much clarity and confidence in the climate impact of their investments as they do in the traditional financial metrics of profit and loss.”
He added that countries now needed to “rewire the entire global financial system for Net Zero.”
Mr Sunak paid “an enormous tribute” to Mark Carney for his “leadership” in mobilising the private finance.
The Chancellor promised the UK would “become the first net zero aligned financial centre” – which would force financial institutions and UK-listed companies to publish plans on how they will decarbonise.
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Critics, however, remain sceptical on the announcement.
The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero – which includes the companies and is headed by Mr Carney – was described as “toothless” and “ineffectual” by one NGO, as it sets its own rules on what counts as net zero.
In a report, Reclaim Finance said the alliance “eschew tangible measures on fossil fuels and emissions reduction in favour of cumbersome target-setting.”
The business organisation CBI called today’s announcements “steps in the right direction”, but called for consistency in climate standards from policy makers.
Speaking directly to developing countries, Mr Sunak said: “We know you’ve been devastated by the double tragedies of coronavirus and climate change.
“That’s why the G20 is stepping up to provide debt treatments more swiftly.”
The International Monetary Fund would provide $650 billion in “special drawing rights”, he said, and “we are going to meet the target to provide $100bn of climate finance to developing countries”.
He added: “while we know we are not yet meeting it soon enough, we will work closely with developing countries to do more and reach the target sooner.
“Over the next five years, we will deliver a total of $500bn investment to the countries that need it most.”
Mr Sunak also announced that the UK would commit £100 million to the Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance, “making it quicker and easier for developing countries to finance they need.”
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