The United Nations special envoy on climate finance, Mark Carney, says he won’t be on the Liberal ticket if there’s a federal election this fall.
The former governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England told The Canadian Press he’s made commitments to help in the global fight against climate change and he can’t walk away from them just a few months before a crucial United Nations conference.
“I thought long and hard on this because I believe strongly in public service—and in the government’s agenda, which I fully support,” Carney said in an interview Tuesday.
“In the end, despite the temptation to running and the wrestling with it, a commitment’s a commitment.”
In addition to his role as UN special envoy, Carney chairs the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero, which aims to bring together banks and asset management firms worldwide to accelerate the transition to an economy based on net-zero carbon emissions.
His work will be crucial to the success of the UN climate conference, COP 26, scheduled to run from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow.
“It’s a critical time in the COP26 process. I made commitments to the (UN) secretary-general and the UK prime minister to organize the private sector for net-zero, for a net-zero economy, we have tremendous momentum, and I don’t want to break that momentum,” Carney said.
“I think this is the best contribution I can make right now for Canada, arguably the world, but also for Canada because this matters. This matters hugely to us and this is something I can do, I’m in the middle of and I need to see it through.”
Carneydid not rule out running for the Liberals at another time.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is widely expected to call an election for this fall. If he does, Carney said he wanted to put an end to rampant speculation that he would run in a riding in Ottawa, where he lives.
Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna announced last month she would not seek re-election in Ottawa Centre. Her surprise decision opened up some prime political real estate that could have become a launching pad for Carney.
There had also been speculation that Ottawa South MP David McGuinty or Kanata-Carleton MP Karen McCrimmon might step aside to open up their Liberal ridings for Carney.
Carneypromised in April, during his political debut at the Liberal party’s virtual convention, to do whatever he can to support the party.
His name has been bandied about as a potential Liberal leader for at least 10 years.
While he was still Bank of Canada governor in 2012, Carney quietly flirted with the idea of a leadership run, courted by Liberals desperately searching for a new saviour after their 2011 election flame-out.
But amid criticism that even the smallest whiff of partisanship was undermining the independence crucial to a central banker, Carney eventually squelched the speculation by saying he’d just as soon become a “circus clown.” He left Canada shortly thereafter to take over the helm of the Bank of England.
He returned to Canada last summer and earlier this year released a book promoting his vision for a new kind of capitalism that combines the pursuit of profit with social purpose.
Last week, Carney said it will take government rules in areas like energy generation, construction, and transport to meet the world’s climate target, The Guardian reports.
“We need clear, credible and predictable regulation from government,” he said. “Air quality rules, building codes, that type of strong regulation is needed. You can have strong regulation for the future, then the financial market will start investing today, for that future. Because that’s what markets do, they always look forward.”
But without government intervention, he stressed that private markets alone will fail to meet the crisis. “It wouldn’t happen spontaneously by the financial sector,” he said. “But we can’t get there without the financial sector.”
Carney said he still sees a future role for fossil fuels, including Canadian tar sands/oil sands, The Guardian adds. But he echoed the International Energy Agency’s call last May for an end to new fossil exploration or development.
“You have to take it on the specific projects,” he said. “If producers are able, through considerable investment in carbon capture and storage, to get to net-zero, then that creates some room in the carbon budget.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2021.