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World’s leading banks agree to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner

Written by on 20/04/2021

More than 40 of the world’s leading banks have formed an alliance agreeing to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.

The banks – which include Barclays, Lloyds, NatWest and Santander – are spread across 23 different countries and control assets totalling $28.5 trillion (£20.45tn).

Mark Carney, the prime minister’s finance adviser for COP26 and former Bank of England governor, said now is a “critical moment” for the financial sector to adapt to tackling climate change.

Mark Carney
Image: Mark Carney says now is a ‘critical moment’ to make change

Speaking on the eve of US President Joe Biden‘s climate summit, he told Sky News: “It’s great having national commitments, but in the end it’s companies and real estate and businesses that are going to make the difference. And so they need the financial sector to back them up.

“The point is for them to put that money to work to help our economy decarbonise and not just the UK economy, but economies around the world because these are the largest players in the financial system.”

Banks joining the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) are agreeing to set emissions targets for 2030 or sooner as well as a 2050 target.

They will also publish their annual emissions and report back on their progress.

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Asked whether the average consumer will be affected by the changes, Mr Carney said pensions will be impacted “positively” because the move is “reducing future risks”.

Banks including Santander, Lloyds, Barclays and NatWest have signed up
Image: Banks including Santander, Lloyds, Barclays and NatWest have signed up

“We are putting those pensions and that money to work in a way that’s going to improve our economy and improve our society. So that’s a positive effect, to be absolutely clear,” he said.

He added that our money should be used “to help achieve these net-zero objectives as what it does then is it creates growth and jobs alongside the improvement in the climate”.

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Mr Carney – along with the US special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry, the UN Race to Zero campaign and the UNFCCC Climate Action Champions – is also launching a global alliance across the finance sector.

The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero is bringing together more than 160 firms to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and work towards net-zero emissions.

The goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit global warming to well below 2C compared with pre-industrial levels.

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Sky News broadcasts the first daily prime time news show dedicated to climate change.

Hosted by Anna Jones, The Daily Climate Show is following Sky News correspondents as they investigate how global warming is changing our landscape and how we all live our lives.

The show will also highlight solutions to the crisis and show how small changes can make a big difference.

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