• Mark Carney, the current governor of the Bank of England, will become UN special envoy on climate action and climate finance
  • He'll work on the intersection of climate change and finance - including risk management and net-zero investments

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney will lead a push by the United Nations to make the finance sector take proper account of the risks posed by climate change, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday.

Guterres said the Canadian, due to leave the bank on Jan. 31, was “a remarkable pioneer in pushing the financial sector to work on climate”.

He told a news conference before a U.N. climate summit in Madrid beginning on Monday that Carney would be the U.N. special envoy on climate action and climate finance from next year.

Governor of the Bank of England Mark Joseph Carney makes remarks during a
Image: REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Michael Bloomberg, billionaire owner of the Bloomberg financial data and news service and former New York City mayor, was the U.N. special envoy for climate action until he stepped down in November, shortly before filing paperwork to run for U.S. president.

Carney first spoke of the risks that climate change poses to finance in 2015, and since then has urged better risk management, supervision and disclosure.

He has spoken of “stranded assets” - deposits of coal, oil and gas that might lose their value if the world shifts away from carbon - and decried a lack of transparency about the effect on global warming of trillions of dollars of potential investments.

The 54-year-old has spent nearly seven years at the head of the bank, and previously led the Bank of Canada and worked for Goldman Sachs.

The Bank of England said Carney would seek to make the impact of climate change central to financial reporting, risk management and the calculation of returns ahead of a global summit in Glasgow in November 2020.

“The disclosures of climate risk must become comprehensive, climate risk management must be transformed, and investing for a net-zero world must go mainstream,” Carney said in a statement.

Some 70 countries have promised to go ‘net zero’ - offsetting their greenhouse gas emissions with measures such as carbon capture or planting trees - by 2050.

Last week, Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann said addressing climate change was a job for governments.

But the new head of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, has promised to discuss sustainability considerations in an impending strategic review.

The Band of England said Carney would earn $1 million a year in his new role, nearly 900,000 pounds ($1.15 million) less than his annual package at the British central bank.

Carney was originally due to leave in 2018 but stayed on to help steer Britain’s economy through the Brexit transition. His successor has not yet been named and Carney has signaled that he would extend his stay beyond Jan. 31 - the date Britain is due to leave the EU - if necessary.

Carney had been seen as a contender to lead the International Monetary Fund, but the job went instead to Kristalina Georgieva, former World Bank chief executive.