A former governor of the Bank of England has warned gearing the UK toward a greener economy will not happen overnight.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Mark Carney, who headed the Old Lady between 2013 – 2020 said “It would be great if we could flip a green switch overnight… we can’t.”
Carney, now the United Nations’ envoy for climate and finance, indicated pulling investment and capital from carbon-intensive industries will not solve the climate crisis.
“It’s very easy to sit there and look at an auto company or a steel company, and say, ‘You’ve got these bad emissions, I shouldn’t lend to you or I shouldn’t invest in you’. But only doing that will not get the emissions down.”
His comments come as the UN’s COP26 climate summit kicked off in Glasgow today.
The conference’s chief, Alok Sharma MP, has warned that COP26 is the final chance for the world to agree a deal to prevent a climate catastrophe.
Delivering his opening remarks on the first day of the summit, Sharma told delegates the window to avoiding the worst effects of global warming is “closing”.
Global leaders will negotiate over the coming weeks over how to cut harmful emissions to keep global warming to 1.5C.
The likelihood of a deal emerging from COP26 has been scuppered by China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, and Russia not attending the conference.
“An orderly transition [to net zero] is crucial,” Carney said.
“Orderly doesn’t mean a slow transition, but it means coming off fossil fuels as we increase renewables and zero emission sources of energy.”
The former Bank governor did highlight the importance of the government playing a role in the transition to net-zero.
“There’s a core role for Government… The judgment has to be: is that level of support sufficient for the kind of outlay that people have to pay, and we’re talking about people who don’t necessarily have the type of savings that would be needed in order to do it.”