Bank of England governor backs environmental activist’s stance on global heating
Mark Carney has provided backing for Greta Thunberg in her clash with Donald Trump, contrasting the contribution the teenage activist has made towards tackling the climate emergency with the White House’s less helpful approach.
Speaking at an event hosted by Bloomberg in Davos, the Bank of England governor said Thunberg was correct to point out that the world was rapidly using up its remaining carbon budget and that the US stance made tackling global heating more difficult.
Carney’s intervention followed Trump’s warning to the World Economic Forum of the dangers of listening to “prophets of doom” and Thunberg’s insistence that the US president needed to listen to the science on global heating.
Asked whether forging a common understanding was more difficult without the US’s involvement, Carney said: “It is certainly more difficult.”
Carney said Thunberg was right to point out that climate science showed that the world had only eight years of emitting carbon at its current rate if there is to be a 67% chance of limiting the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees. “That’s a legitimate point to make,” he said. “There have been many positive contributions from Greta Thunberg.”
However, the Bank of England governor added that some of the leading thinking on climate crisis was coming from the US financial sector and tech companies. Christiana Figueres, a former top climate change negotiator for the UN, said at the same meeting that despite Trump’s attitude, there was still a chance the US would meet its carbon reduction targets because of initiatives at local and state level.
Carney has been made Boris Johnson’s special adviser for the crucial COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November – an event as big in scale as the annual WEF event in Davos.
He said Johnson understood the challenge but that success in Glasgow was about mobilising private finance as well as action by governments.
“The prime minister is very focused on this. The full weight of the government will be engaged with it.”
Carney said public opinion had shifted on the climate crisis, while banks and the finance sector more generally were now aware of the risks and opportunities involved.
“There will be companies who will be out in front and those who lag behind,” he said. “It is not simply a question of green good, everything else bad. There are 50 shades of green, if not more.”