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BoE’s Carney urges City of London to step up ahead of climate summit

LONDON — Bank of England Governor Mark Carney called on London’s money managers to help speed a transition to a low-carbon future on Thursday, aiming to usher in a new era where every professional financial decision takes climate change into account.

Carney wants to leverage a U.N. climate summit in November to strengthen a raft of initiatives aimed at spurring a massive reallocation of capital away from polluting industries in time to prevent global warming toppling industrial society.

“Given the scale of the climate challenge and the rising expectations of our citizens, 2020 must be a year of climate action where everybody’s in, and that includes the world’s leading financial center,” Carney said in remarks prepared for delivery at an event at London’s Guildhall on Thursday.

Carney is due to take over as U.N. special envoy on climate finance next month after stepping down as governor. He has also been appointed to advise British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the run-up to the Nov. 9-20 summit in Glasgow.

The Guildhall event was billed as the launch of a “Private Finance Agenda” component of the summit consisting of existing initiatives Carney has championed since he began working to push climate change to the forefront of investors’ minds in 2015.

These include moves to encourage companies to be more transparent about the risks they face in a rapidly warming world, stress-tests to reveal how banks would fare as temperatures rise, and ways to allow investors to gauge the impact of their portfolios on the climate.

Carney hopes such measures will help the financial industry drive transformational change in energy, agriculture, heating, transport, fashion and other sectors needed to help Britain achieve its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“The objective is that every professional financial decision will need to take climate change into account,” the BoE said in statement.

With the Earth on track for temperature increases that some scientists and economists believe could put the survival of modern societies at risk, the summit is seen as a critical test of the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

Newly appointed Business Minister Alok Sharma, who Johnson named as president of the summit this month after sacking a former energy minister from the role, echoed Carney’s call for the City, London’s financial center, to step up.

“We are calling on action from everyone — businesses, civil society and each part of the global financial system to meet the Paris Agreement goals,” Sharma said, according to the BoE.

Naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough was due to open the event by laying out the magnitude of the threat posed by climate change, the BoE said. (Reporting by Matthew Green; editing by Diane Craft)