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Central Banks and the Wrong Sort of Green

Students take part in a “youth strike to act on climate change” demonstration in Nice, France, March 15, 2019. (Eric Gaillard/Reuters)

A sometimes overlooked aspect of the extent to which some leading central banks are going astray has been their foray into climate politics.

A particularly notorious offender was Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of England.

Via Reuters, here he is in 2019:

Financial services have been too slow to cut investment in fossil fuels, a delay that could lead to a sharp increase in global temperatures, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said in an interview broadcast on Monday….

Earlier this month, the BoE said Britain’s top banks and insurers should be tested together for the first time in 2021 to quantify the potential financial damage from climate change on their businesses.

I wonder what would happen to any bank or insurer that gave the ‘wrong’ sort of answer.

This, of course, is legislation by regulation, a reminder that much of the more hysterical climate-change agenda is being pursued through methods under which the voters do not have a say.

Carney has since moved on:

Having just stepped down after seven years as Governor of the Bank of England and, having previously served as head of Canada’s central bank, Mark Carney has now taken on two new, profoundly important roles: the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, and for this year, the UK Prime Minister’s Advisor on Finance for COP26, the next UN climate conference postponed until 2021…

These new roles will also give Mark Carney the opportunity to build on and merge the great work he has been doing on climate change in the finance community with the many commitments and initiatives that were announced last September during the Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit and carry them forward to the climate COP in Glasgow later this year. Those efforts include ambitious commitments by a number of investors to ‘align’ their portfolios with net zero emissions trajectories through initiatives like the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance. Its current membership already represents more than $4 trillion in assets.

That would be part of the ‘E’ in ESG, the acronym for the effort to ‘encourage’ companies to live up to a series of shifting environmental, social and (less controversially) governance criteria.

Carney’s successor at the Bank of England seems, unfortunately, to be cut from the same cloth.

Reuters:

LONDON (Reuters) — Governments must rebuild their economies after the coronavirus crisis to withstand the next shock heading their way — climate change, the central bank governors of Britain and France have said.

“Unless we act now, the climate crisis will be tomorrow’s central scenario and, unlike COVID-19, no one will be able to self-isolate from it,” Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey and his French counterpart, François Villeroy de Galhau, wrote in a joint article published in the Guardian newspaper…

Central banks have increasingly put the risks of climate change into their assessments of the health of the financial services firms that they monitor.

A group representing central bankers and regulators — the Network for Greening the Financial System — will publish climate reference scenarios in the coming weeks which Bailey and Villeroy said would “raise the bar for the financial sector”.

The article was co-written with Frank Elderson, chair of NGFS who is an executive board member of the central bank of the Netherlands, and with former BoE governor Mark Carney, who is the United Nations’ special envoy for climate action and finance.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Financial Times reports (my emphasis added):

Between 2000 and 2019, Beijing’s two leading policy banks — China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of China — provided $183bn in energy finance to BRI [Belt and Road Initiative] countries, which went mostly to oil, coal and hydropower. This compares with the banks’ $4.8bn funding for solar and wind projects, according to data from Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center…

A failure to improve environmental standards in 126 BRI-participating countries could push global temperatures up 2.7C, even if all other countries met their targets to reduce emissions, according to a report by Beijing-based Tsinghua Center for Finance and Development, consultancy Vivid Economics and the ClimateWorks Foundation, a non-profit.

Oh.

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