Financial groups seek 'clear, credible and ambitious' climate action from G20

LONDON (Reuters) – Financial services groups responsible for more than $90 trillion in assets on Monday called for the leaders of the world’s largest economies to push through “clear, credible and ambitious” policies to battle climate change.

FILE PHOTO: Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England (BOE) attends a news conference at Bank Of England in London, Britain March 11, 2020. Peter Summers/Pool via REUTERS

The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, chaired by United Nations climate envoy Mark Carney, said the policies, taken together, would restructure the global financial system and accelerate the world’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

The call to action from GFANZ members is the latest in a string of requests from big business for government action and comes ahead of the next round of global climate talks in Glasgow in November.

Among the specific requests, GFANZ called for governments to set economy-wide net-zero targets aligned to the global target of capping global warming at no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial norms by mid-century.

They also called for financial regulations to explicitly support the transition, for fossil fuel subsidies to be phased out and for carbon emissions to be priced. Public and private enterprises should also be forced to disclose net zero transition plans and climate reporting by 2024.

As well as unlocking the trillions of dollars needed to fund the transition, including in emerging markets, governments needed to support small and medium-sized businesses and communities to ensure a “Just Transition”, they added.

“Through GFANZ, the best of the global financial system has committed to net zero… But financial firms can’t deliver sustainable economies alone – clear, credible and ambitious climate policies are needed from G20 governments,” Carney said.

“The next few weeks in this decisive decade will help determine whether we avoid climate catastrophe. The core of the financial sector is stepping up – it’s time for major economies to do the same.”

Intended as a policy advocacy document for use by policymakers from the Group of 20 industrialised nations, GFANZ said it will be discussed with political leaders at the COP26 climate talks.

Ana Botín, Group Executive Chairman, Banco Santander, said: “If we are to prevent a potentially catastrophic increase in global temperatures we need an immediate and coordinated global response.

“To maximise our impact, governments and regulators need to work urgently together to set out clear pathways to net zero and reset global financial regulations to support a just transition.”

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