Taking Action on Climate Change

  • 5 June 2020
  • Blog | Green Finance | Blog

We have an opportunity to ensure that all financial decisions made in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis consider climate change.

“As we recover [from the coronavirus crisis], we must build a better future for all.”

Climate action will fight back as a key focus for financial services over the coming months as former Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, starts work as the United Nations’ new Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance.

Carney is tasked with engaging business leaders on subjects including carbon neutrality, carbon pricing, disclosure of climate risk, and embedding climate into economic and financial priorities.

In planning the coronavirus pandemic recovery, there is “a profound opportunity” to steer the world on “a path that tackles climate change, protects the environment, reverses biodiversity loss and ensures the long-term health and security of humankind,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said last month (April 2020).

COVID-19 has exposed the fragility of our societies to global shocks, such as disease or the climate crisis, Guterres said. But he added: “As we recover, we must build a better future for all. Together, we can protect our planet, improve health, reduce inequality and re-energize struggling economies.”

Focus on the goals

Guterres urged countries to remain committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, and not to give up on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals launched by 193 member countries in 2015, including ending poverty, inequality, hunger and combatting climate change by 2030.

“The highest cost is the cost of doing nothing”, Guterres said.

Carney was also appointed in January as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Finance Adviser for the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, originally scheduled to take place in Glasgow this November. Dates for a rescheduled conference in 2021 will be set out in due course.

Up to 30,000 delegates and 200 world leaders were expected to attend the event.

At the time of his appointment, Carney said the UK’s global leadership in financial services provided a unique opportunity to address climate change by transforming the financial system.

“To seize it, all financial decisions need to take into account the risks from climate change and the opportunities from the transition to a net zero economy,” he added.

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