Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to become United Nations climate envoy

Mark Carney
Mark Carney will take over as special envoy on climate action and finance when he steps down as Bank of England Governor

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has landed a high-profile diplomatic post as the United Nations’ special envoy on climate change in what will be his first new role after leaving Threadneedle Street next year.

The Canadian, whose wife Diana is a prominent environmental campaigner, has put green issues to the fore since becoming Governor, most recently addressing the UN’s Climate Action Summit in New York in September on climate risks to financial stability.

He succeeds billionaire Michael Bloomberg as special envoy for climate action and finance, after the financial data and newswires tycoon stepped down to focus on running for the US presidency next year.

Mr Carney is the world’s best paid central banker, earning £883,911 in wages and allowances last year, but the UN job comes with the token annual salary of $1 (77p).

The post however offers a high-profile platform for the 54-year-old, who was a candidate to become the International Monetary Fund’s new managing director earlier this year and is long thought to harbour political ambitions in his native country.

Carney succeeds Michael Bloomberg after he stepped down to focus on running for the US presidency Credit:  Carolyn Kaster/ AP

The new role will thrust Mr Carney into the spotlight ahead of the UN’s major climate summit in Glasgow next year. The event – to be attended by some 30,000 delegates and 200 world leaders – is seen as critical by environmental campaigners as it marks the deadline for countries to come with stronger emissions cuts under the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to curb rises in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

Mr Carney said he was “honoured” to be chosen, adding: “This provides a platform to bring the risks from climate change and the opportunities from the transition to a net zero economy into the heart of financial decision-making.” 

The Governor has championed green initiatives in central banking for several years. The Bank of England is set to become the first regulator to stress test the financial system against different climate scenarios, while firms in the UK and EU will also make mandatory disclosures on the financial risks thrown up by climate change risks by 2022. 

UN general secretary António Guterres, speaking on the eve of the UN’s latest climate summit in Madrid, called Mr Carney a “remarkable pioneer in pushing the financial sector to act on climate”.

The Bank said he will take on the new UN role when he steps down as Governor. His current departure date is Jan 31 next year – the scheduled day of Brexit – although his term has been extended from the original July 2018 twice already due to the vicissitudes of the process of leaving the EU.

The Canadian has not ruled another possible extension to the term, previously saying that the timing and appointment of his successor is a “matter for the Government”.

A further spell at the Bank is unlikely to go down well with senior Brexiteers such as Iain Duncan-Smith, who has labelled him the “architect and promoter of Project Fear”. 

Possible candidates to succeed him include deputy governor Ben Broadbent, Financial Conduct Authority chief executive Andrew Bailey and London School of Economics director Minouche Shafik.

It is understood the new Governor will be appointed early next year if Boris Johnson wins a majority in next week’s election.