Rupert Darwall

Who’s cashing in on the climate emergency?

‘The climate transition presents a historic investment opportunity,’ says BlackRock CEO Larry Fink. ‘What the financiers, the big banks, the asset managers, private investors, venture capital are all discovering is: There’s a lot of money to be made in the creation of these new [green] jobs,’ chimes in presidential climate envoy John Kerry. 

Fink concedes that the economy remains ‘highly dependent’ on fossil fuels. He also asserts that BlackRock is ‘carbon neutral today in our own operations’. It’s a claim open to challenge. ‘If a company or individual says to me they are net-zero, I know it is complete crap,’ tweeted Glen Peters, research director of the Oslo-based Centre for International Climate Research.

Peters was taking to task former Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who had claimed that investments in renewable energy offset emissions from fossil-fuel investments. Carney quickly backed down, but the spat reveals the fissure in the climate movement that first became visible with Michael Moore’s 2020 movie Planet of the Humans, which pitted true believers on one side against those positioning themselves to reap profits from the climate money pouring into decarbonisation.

Carney is a leading light of the climate-finance oligarchy, positioned at the nexus of politics and finance. He is a key adviser for the UN climate change conference, COP26, to Boris Johnson and serves as UN secretary-general António Guterres’s special envoy on finance and climate action. He is also vice-chair of Canadian alternative asset manager Brookfield, heading its ESG and impact-investing business. One privilege of being a climate saviour: any concerns over conflicts of interest don’t apply when the interests of the planet are at stake.

Carney has written a book, Value(s): Building a Better World for All, and the BBC gave Carney the prestigious platform of the 2020 Reith Lectures. Net-zero investments are ‘turning an existential risk into one of the greatest commercial opportunities of our time,’ Carney declared

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