Former Bank of England Governor addresses relaunch of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Environment, for which Green Alliance is to be secretariat
Former Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned there is "no greater systemic risk than climate change" to the world economy as he addressed the inaugural meeting of the revitalised All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Environment this week, which saw think tank Green Alliance announced as the MP group's new secretariat.
Carney, who was appointed earlier this year to the position of COP26 Finance Advisor to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, warned that the threat posed by climate change meant that "virtually every company" required a new strategy, and that businesses failing to plan for a net zero future by setting steep decarbonisation targets would become "increasingly anachronistic".
He also used the event, which took place online, to map out some of the opportunities presented by economies shifting towards net zero targets, arguing that sustainable infrastructure promised to provide more jobs and boost GDP.
"For virtually every company there is a requirement to set a new strategy coming out of [Covid-19], and this is part of the big opportunity.," said Carney, who is also a UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance. "If you're in the UK, Canada or 120 other countries around the world that have net zero as an objective - and of course in the UK it is a legislative objective, not just an aspiration - and companies are all resetting their strategies, then it is entirely reasonable to ask them 'well what's your strategy for net zero?'
"Now it's possible that a company's strategy in the net zero horizon is out to 2050 with a crunch in 2030," he continued. "And it's possible that the answer to that question is 'I don't have a strategy but I'm going to wind my company down by that point'. That's the value of transparency and could be right - it's part of the adjustment process. But not having a strategy or not having thought about it would be increasingly anachronistic I think."
The APPG for the Environment, which was officially relaunched on Tuesday, is being led by a new cross-party committee chaired by Conservative MP Anthony Browne, with Green Alliance taking over management of the APPG as secretariat from the end of this month.
The changes come ahead of what is being dubbed a 'Super Year' for the environment in 2021 and today's address is one of many to come as part of an "ambitious calendar of events" before the end of the year, according to the APPG.
Anthony Browne, who is also the former environment editor of newspapers The Observer andThe Times, said he was determined to raise the profile and understanding of environmental issues across the House of Commons and House of Lords.
"Relaunching the APPG, fuelled by the impressive expertise of Green Alliance, is a key way of doing that," he explained. "Their long history working with NGOs and legislators, as well as their politically-neutral evidence-based approach, will be essential as we look to ensure environmental priorities are at the heart of government policy."
Chris Venables, head of politics at Green Alliance, and staff lead for the APPG for the Environment, called for parliamentarians to collaborate beyond party lines to dive action on climate change. "There is no area of environmental policy in which increased scrutiny and calls for greater ambition from MPs and peers would be unwelcome - so that is our goal - and we're excited to work with the officers and members to achieve it," he said.
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