COP27: Mark Carney clings to his dream of a greener finance industry

In the months leading up to the Glasgow COP26 climate change conference last November, the UK government spent long hours lining up landmark agreements to be announced during the week on car emissions, deforestation, methane and more.

Among the most eye-catching of the announcements was the commitment unveiled by Mark Carney, the former Bank of England governor, on the conference’s finance day: a pledge that $130tn — four in every 10 dollars under management globally — would be deployed to limit global warming. “This is a watershed,” he said. Quoting the climate activist Greta Thunberg, he added: “It’s not blah blah blah.”

The promise was made on behalf of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (Gfanz), the grouping of banks, asset managers, insurers, pension funds and other money managers Carney had launched in April 2021. It was greeted as a fundamental shift away from purely profit-driven capitalism by the financial sector.

Behind the scenes in 2021, not everyone working on COP26 in government was convinced of the timing, or the wisdom, of Carney’s announcement. “Carney saying we’ve got $130tn of money ready” risked looking “misleading”, says one civil servant working on negotiations at a time when the COP26 presidency was struggling to persuade developed governments to deliver on a promise of $100bn in annual climate assistance to poorer nations.
There were also concerns the announcement was more promotional than tangible. “A lot of…

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