Wednesday

30th Sep 2020

Fossil fuel funding too high, British bank chief says

  • The outgoing head of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, said that the stated efforts to curb funding in fossil fuels have been 'not shifting quick sufficient' (Photo: Bank of England)

The outgoing head of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, warned on Monday (30 December) that the shift in the financial sector towards sustainability is far too slow.

Carney, who will take up a role next year as the United Nations special envoy for climate action and finance, said that the stated efforts to curb funding in fossil fuels have been "not shifting sufficiently quickly" and the assets in the sector could end up "worthless".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Carney pointed out that companies and financial institutions with investments in fossil fuels would "have to make the judgment and justify to the people whose money it ultimately is".

"The concern is whether we will spend another decade doing worthy things, but not enough," he said in a BBC Radio 4 interview.

Environmental groups and some politicians in Europe have recently questioned the possibility of running a capitalist economy without threatening the future of the planet.

However, according to the chief of the Bank of England, it is reasonable to question where the role of the state ended and what the role of markets was to reduce the impacts of climate change.

"To deliver, there needs to be shared understanding about what's necessary," he added.

'Tragedy of the horizon'

"A question for every company, every financial institution, every asset manager, pension fund or insurer: What's your plan?," Carney said, warning that firms will have to do their part to preserve solvency.

Climate change is what he called a "tragedy of the horizon," since extreme weather events were inevitable.

"In those horizons, there will be more extreme weather events, but by the time that the extreme events become so prevalent and so obvious it's too late to do anything about it," he said.

"We look to political leaders to start addressing future problems today," he added.

Meanwhile, the European Environmental Agency (EEA) warned the European Union that investing in sustainability and stopping funding for environmentally damaging activities, especially fossil fuels, was needed to tackle the negative consequences of climate change.

Europe will not achieve its 2030 climate and energy targets "without urgent action during the next 10 years," an EEA report concluded.

Additionally, the EU managed to agree on a common classification system for environmentally-sustainable investments.

The agreement is the first step to set a framework for sustainable finance that will help investors and consumers to identify economic activities which can unambiguously be considered environmentally green.

However, the "green" taxonomy was expected to be in place by the end of 2021 and to ensure its full application only by the end of 2022, which environmental groups criticised "given the urgency of the climate crisis".

Leaders face crucial EU summit for climate action

EU leaders are meeting on Thursday and Friday in three different formats: a regular summit to discuss the EU's long-term budget and the 2050 climate-neutrality goal, a European Council (Article 50) meeting, and a European summit.

Analysis

China's carbon pledge at UN sends 'clear message' to US

China's pledge to become carbon neutral before 2060 is "good news" for Europe, but it sends a clear message to Washington ahead of the US election - in which climate change has become a significant aspect for voters.

Higher EU climate target 'economically feasible'

A new report indicates that the EU's plan to reduce the bloc's greenhouse emissions by 55 percent by 2030 is "technically and economically feasible" - with a reform of EU carbon market and "adequate safeguards" for low-income EU countries.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court defenestrates Catalan leader
  2. Report: EU helped Taiwan on name dispute
  3. Belarusian writer goes to Germany for treatment
  4. Rapid Covid-19 tests for developing world imminent
  5. Dutch advised against 'non-essential' travel to Belgium
  6. Covid-19 hit Roma community hard, report finds
  7. Merkel visited Navalny in Berlin hospital
  8. EU's new raw materials strategy 'threatens' climate action

Feature

The 150 random French citizens advising Macron

Some 150 randomly-picked men and women make up Emmanuel Macron's Citizens' Climate Convention. This week Macron invited them to the Élysée Palace and promised - nearly - all of their wishes would come true .

France shuts oldest reactor amid Macron climate pledges

France's oldest nuclear power plant finally closed on Tuesday, one day after president Emmanuel Macron pledged to speed up the country's transition to a greener economy responding to the proposals from the French citizens' convention on climate.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. EU tries to avoid lockdowns as global death toll reaches 1m
  2. Reports: Turkey sent Syrian fighters to Azerbaijan
  3. German presidency tries to end EU's rule-of-law battle
  4. 'Sponsored returns' may shuffle failed asylum seekers around EU
  5. German wins election to be mayor of Romania's third city
  6. Minsk on the edge means whole Eastern Partnership is at risk
  7. Caucasus warfare prompts EU alarm
  8. Summit reloaded and last Brexit round This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us