A letter to Mark Carney – We are running out of time

Full letter to Mark Carney

Dear Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance,

On the eve of the COP 26 climate meetings, where private finance’s role in climate change will finally get the attention it deserves, we urge you to seriously strengthen the guidelines of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ).

While we applaud your role in establishing frameworks to help green the financial system, we are growing increasingly concerned that banks and other financial institutions are using “Net Zero” promises largely as greenwash. As one senior finance figure remarked recently, it’s easy for bosses to commit to net zero because it is “next, next, next, next management’s problem”. Unless the ambition of Net Zero alliances and the bar for entry is significantly raised, they risk just becoming yet another exercise in empty green PR while global financed emissions continue to rise.

A global consensus – driven by the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero Emissions Scenario, cited by the UN Secretary General – is solidifying: to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, there is no room for any further fossil fuel development. No more coal, oil, or gas expansion are permitted if we are to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Yet many of the financial institutions who have signed onto the GFANZ remain among the world’s top backers of fossil fuels. The majority of signatories have submitted no detailed plans to reduce their fossil fuel investments; they lack measurable interim targets for emissions reductions, and do not rule out reliance on discredited offsetting schemes and other unproven carbon dioxide removal technologies. In fact, many financial institutions, since becoming members of GFANZ, have issued new financing to companies expanding fossil fuel infrastructure.

Financial institutions that take their role in the climate crisis seriously must:

  • Immediately present fossil fuel financing reduction targets and implementation plans covering all of their financial services with a goal of halving financed emissions by 2030
  • Integrate the findings of the IEA Net Zero scenario into their climate strategies, including a prohibition on the financing of new fossil fuel projects as well as new corporate level financing of companies expanding fossil fuel production and transportation
  • Immediately phase out all financing of thermal coal companies including utilities without short term plans to shutter thermal coal power and make a plan to phase out financing of oil and gas
  • Ensure the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous communities and commit to protect and restore biodiversity in all financing activities

This is the true gold standard. Anything short of it will be seen as a failure in your duties. On behalf of our millions of members, from your own country of Canada and around the world, we urge you to raise the ambition of financial institutions on climate action and not allow them to receive positive accolades for minimal, ambiguous, or false promises. We are running out of time.


Canadian organisations:

Indigenous Climate Action
Greenpeace Canada
Shift: Action for Pension Wealth & Planet Health
David Suzuki Foundation
Citizens Climate Lobby Canada
Living Oceans Society
Banking on a Better Future
Gidimt’en Checkpoint
West Coast Environmental Law Association
Environmental Defence Canada

Global organisations:
Reclaim Finance
Rainforest Action Network
Sierra Club
Bank on our Future Network
Market Forces
Positive Money UK

Additional signatories:
Fridays for Future NYC
New York Communities for Change
Fossil Free California
Mothers Out Front
Green Education and Legal Fund
Earth Action, Inc.
Windfall Ecology Centre
Clean Air Partnership
Women’s Healthy Environments Network
350 Ventura County Climate Hub
Climate Justice Guelph
One Cowichan
Just Earth
North American Climate, Conservation and Environment (NACCE)
Animal Save Movement
Social Eco Education (SEE-LA)
Ethical Markets Media Certified B. Corporation
Climate Emergency Unit, Canada
Seventh Generation Initiative
North Island Climate Hub
350 Humboldt
Divest Brent
Conservation Council of New Brunswick
She Changes Climate
Grinnell Corporate Social Responsibilities Consulting
Occupy Bergen County (New Jersey)
Rapid Decarbonization Group
The Global Sunrise Project
Climate Conversations, Coaching and Action
Fresh Eyes
Glasswaters Foundation
Cleantech21 Foundation
Egyptian Green Party
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community
Church Women United in New York State
Bank Information Center
Gower Street
Zero Hour
Gallifrey Foundation
Climate Action Moreland
Climate Pledge Collective
Positive Money
US 350MontgomeryCounty
350 Seattle
TIAA-Divest! from Climate Destruction
People’s climate movement-NY
Just Finance International
FreshWater Accountability Project
Just Share NPC
ClimateFast Grand(m)others Act to Save the Planet GASP
ABC Earth Care Team
GBC Sustainability Team
350 New Orleans
Animal Save Italia
Seniors for Climate Action Now! (SCAN!)
Instituto Brasileiro de Defesa do Consumidor – IDEC
Minnesota Divestment Coalition
350 Silicon Valley
ActionAid Denmark


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