On December 1, 2019, Secretary-General António Guterres announced that Mark Carney, is to become the UN’s new Special Envoy for Climate Action. Carney replaces Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire owner of the Bloomberg financial data and news service and former New York City mayor. Describing the Canadian as “a remarkable pioneer in pushing the financial sector to act on climate”, Mr. Guterres said the new envoy will focusing on mobilizing private finance, towards limiting global warming to the key 1.5 degrees mark.
Carney has been an advocate of environmentally sustainable finance for many years and he has worked to prioritize mainstreaming climate friendly funds in the G20. He is the former governor of the Bank of Canada and he is currently the head of the Bank of England where he has warned investors about the dangers of fossil fuels. He acknowledges that we cannot burn most of the known fossil fuel reserves and he has cautioned investors about the long-term threats and the risks of stranded assets. In his new job Carney is expect to work on financial instruments that facilitate the transition to a net zero economy. Do to do this he will need to build frameworks for financial reporting, risk management and returns.
Carney recently told the Guardian that companies that do not reign in their carbon emissions will drive investors away. Carney did not mince words when he warned that firms that fail to address this reality will go bankrupt. Carney pointed to US coal companies that have lost 90 percent of their value. He also indicated that banks with too much exposure to companies on the wrong side of the climate equation are also at risk.
Carney is also aware of the need to expedite climate action. He has indicated that the the longer we wait to make the required global transition the more likely we are to experience abrupt financial collapse. Carney pointed to extreme weather events and government regulations leading to asset devaluation. He warned that that are $20 trillion worth of assets at risk if we fail to address climate change. He also pointed to big upside potential from those involved in climate action. Carney has suggested that investors should support innovation, artificial intelligence in energy systems and more reliance on advanced materials like graphene.