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Opinion

Financiers call for public sector support on climate

One of the strongest themes of COP26 was the involvement of the private sector on an unprecedented scale. What happens next?

Mark-Carney-COP26-2021-Reuters-960.jpg
Mark Carney at COP26. Photo: Reuters

Despite the logistical challenges created by the pandemic, the UN climate conference in Glasgow saw an impressive turnout by banks, asset managers and insurers from across the globe.

The focus of media attention was the announcement that the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), launched by Mark Carney in April, had persuaded more than 450 firms representing around $130 trillion of capital to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

On the ground in Glasgow the focus had already shifted beyond the headline numbers to what comes next

On the ground in Glasgow, however, the focus had already shifted beyond the headline numbers to what comes next, and the challenges involved in turning those big numbers into real change.

Bankers and asset managers attending COP understood that making commitments for 2050 is all very well but what matters is what happens in the next decade, and indeed the next 12 months.

As one senior banker commented, on January 1 2022 no one will care about COP and the commitments that were announced there – stakeholders will want to know what institutions are doing now, today, to address the climate crisis.

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