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Mark Carney Questions the Critics of Bankers' Climate Record

The $130 trillion net-zero alliance Carney formed is preparing its next steps.

Cooling towers at a power station in Selby, U.K.

Cooling towers at a power station in Selby, U.K.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

As chief architect of the finance industry’s biggest climate coalition, Mark Carney said banks and asset managers are doing a better job at steering capital away from fossil fuels than is implied by what he described as “clickbait” headlines.

In an interview to mark the one-year anniversary of his launch of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, the former Bank of England governor and current vice chair of Brookfield Asset Management said that expecting banks to eliminate all financing of carbon-intensive industries is unrealistic. He also said efforts to steer capital away from fossil fuels are being slowed by Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and its geopolitical fallout, which means greenhouse gas emissions will rise from already dangerous levels in the coming years.

Speaking from Washington, Carney said one of the next goals is to expand GFANZ membership, which currently includes giants such as BlackRock Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and HSBC Holdings Plc. He said the $130 trillion alliance hasn’t given up on Asia, where Chinese banks are the world’s biggest contributors to coal finance. And GFANZ is now developing a framework to help signatories cope with stranded assets, to track how much firms are doing to move to a low-carbon world, and to measure the level of global warming implied by investor portfolios.