by Peter Franklin
Friday, 26
February 2021
Spotted
17:17

Mark Carney has some explaining to do

The former Governor of the Bank of England's halo is a little tarnished
by Peter Franklin

Mark Carney is Davos Man personified — one of those globetrotting super-leaders untroubled by the messy business of actually getting elected (or, at least, not anymore). Other examples of the caste include Bill Gates, Christine Lagarde, John Kerry and David Miliband. 

These folk don’t have to signal their virtue; it is simply assumed as part of that aura of liberal respectability at that surrounds them at all times. 

Except that Carney’s halo looks a little tarnished today. Since his stint as governor as the Bank of England (and high-status Brexit antagonist), he’s been earning a crust at Brookfield Asset Management which invests in “long-life, high-quality assets and businesses in more than 30 countries around the world.” 

However, when Greenpeace took a look at those “high-quality assets”, they found they were reported to include major investments in the fossil fuel industry (including some of the dirtiest sectors like coal and oil sands). 

But so what? We all use fossil fuels — both directly and indirectly. Indeed, for the time being, our whole way of life still depends on them. Someone’s got to fund the infrastructure that makes it all work. 

However, Mark Carney’s problem is that his other jobs since leaving the Bank of England include United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and Boris Johnson’s finance advisor for the forthcoming COP26 climate change conference. 

This is awkward. In fact more than that, it’s dangerous — because it undermines the moral authority of those in power to tell the rest of us to change the way we live.

It should be said that Brookfield also invests in low carbon sectors, hence Carney’s claim that the company is “net zero”. But in this context, does this claim make any sense? Presumably, Brookfield is investing in clean tech to make money. I hope they do — the best way to decarbonise is to make it pay. But this does not buy them the moral excuse to also fund polluting technologies. If you were to mug an old lady one day and then help her across the road the next, this does not make you a ‘net zero offender’. 

Brookfield says that it invests in “long-life” assets. But fossil fuel infrastructure cannot have a long-life. If countries are serious about achieving the net zero targets they’ve signed up to, then time is running out for the most polluting industries. 

Indeed, rather like the ‘bad banks’ that were used to manage non-performing loans after the banking crisis, we must start thinking about public institutions that can manage the decommissioning of dirty industries that have no place in the future.

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Alison Houston
Alison Houston
1 year ago

No let’s not bother. Let’s end the hypocrisy by giving up banging on about climate change and zero carbon instead. I’m sitting by a huge, open, blazing coal and coke fire.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

We sit around a camp fire in the evening of 2-3 burning tires, warm and bright, keeps the bugs away, and is green as they are ones I gather from the local fly-tipped woods and I leave the trees un-cut.

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Obviously it is not great having tires lying around in the woods but burning them is not good for you. tires are better recycled in designed plants or used in construction projects.
See https://www.elaw.org/content/health-impacts-open-burning-used-scrap-tires-and-potential-solutions-science-memo
“Air emissions from open tire fires have been shown to be more toxic (e.g., mutagenic) than those of a combustor, regardless of the fuel. Open tire fire emissions include “criteria” pollutants, such as particulates, carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur oxides (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They also include “non-criteria” hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), such as polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), dioxins, furans, hydrogen chloride, benzene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and metals such as arsenic, cadmium, nickel, zinc, mercury, chromium, and vanadium. Both criteria and HAP emissions from an open tire fire can represent significant acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) health hazards to firefighters and nearby residents. Depending on the length and degree of exposure, these health effects could include irritation of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes, respiratory effects, central nervous system depression, and cancer.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
1 year ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Yes I’m just thinking about setting mine actually as it is turning a bit chilly now. I have no children and I suppose I’m a selfish old so as the earth can burn for all I care as long as my evenings and my tootsies are nice and warm. Chin chin and bottoms up I say! Have a great evening Alison.

Richard Audley
Richard Audley
1 year ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

“Keep the home fires burning!”

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

What about the future of the planet that your grandchildren might hope to inherit? Does that mean nothing as you toast yourself ‘medium rare’ by your “huge,open, blazing coal and coke fire”?

Is it really that cold in Goole?

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
1 year ago

It means nothing because it isn’t real, only perceived as such.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
1 year ago

I’m glad you believe all the crystal ball gazing the MMCC group are doing. These are the same ones who predicted peak oil for ages, and ice age (back in the 1970s) global warming then climate change because people hadn’t noticed it getting warm etc etc

David Stuckey
David Stuckey
1 year ago

Would you prefer a crystal ball instead?

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
1 year ago

Everyone’s goolies will be cold under net zero.

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
1 year ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Not sure if the world should worry about your open coal and coke fire but you should. The micro particulates from all solid fuel fires are horrendous even if in the latest high efficiency and sealed burner. In Copenhagen the particulates from solid fuel fires exceed those from all transport throughout the entire year. Similar in UK with even fewer solid fuel users. Wood, in particular, is much better as a building material than it is as a fuel.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

This article is Woke to the level of nuttiness. If anyone does investing they need a pallet of investing. You will have a long wait till the electric ambulance arrives at your house so grow up about oil.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Indeed. Or the electric plane to the climate conference.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago

Quit with the phoney fait accompli.

Bank execs are morally wrong to play politics with other people’s money and that’s the end of it.

Richard Audley
Richard Audley
1 year ago

Please don’t call them “Bank execs”, they are and always have been, ‘Money Lenders’, and incidentally work in ‘Counting Houses, not Banks.

As for this Zero Carbon piffle, they would sell their own grandmothers for sixpence given half a chance!

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Audley
Lauren Kake
Lauren Kake
1 year ago

I don’t understand this laser-like focus on Co2 emissions (hinging on shadowy models and global diktats) and the relative quiet about oceans, land management and the like.
The disconnect fuels my suspicion that the Green movement has nothing to do with ecology.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
1 year ago
Reply to  Lauren Kake

I agree with you, Lauren. However, I suggest you use the term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, rather than CO2 emissions? This is really what is at issue, since a tonne of methane emissions actually contributes much more to global warming than a tonne of CO2 emissions. Of course emissions of other gases are always measured in terms of their carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) to allow for apples to apples comparisons. Sloppy language leads to sloppy thinking, which is why the green warriors indulge in it, and the rest of us should avoid it.

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago

“it undermines the moral authority of those in power to tell the rest of us to change the way we live”
Who doffs their hat and does what ‘those in power’ say? In a democracy, those in power are there as servants and representatives working for the people – not our overseers.
Meanwhile environmental campaigners like Greenpeace bang on about the climate, while trying to curtail investment in nuclear power – the fastest and most practical solution to CO2 emission in our armoury.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

That’ll be the day when they consider themselves OUR servants I fear..

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Thompson
Richard Audley
Richard Audley
1 year ago
Reply to  Saul D

James Lovelock (101) the High Priest of Green tosh in the 70’s and co- contributor the Gaia Hypothesis, did quite an amazing volte face in 2004 by proclaiming that Nuclear Power was the only way to stop Global warming and move forward.
Needless to say he has hardly been heard of since, which is a great pity.

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Audley
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Audley

Lovelock is a traitor pure and simple!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

Obviously holding any view at odds with virtue signalling herd is traitorous

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
1 year ago

Hopefully countries are not going for net zero.
Mind you people like Peter, who pretends he can count seems very keen on it.
Look at the actual numbers for electricity production today (27/02/20). Wind power is producing one thirtieth (yes 1/30) of its rated capacity. Which is 1 / 50 of total electricity demand (as at 19.00 hrs).
In other words Peter we need 50 times as many Wind Turbines as we have now, to meet this evenings demand. When EV cars are fully introduced we would need 100 times the number of Wind Turbines.
Peter, how much would this cost?

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
1 year ago

More to the point, what is the point when huge carbon hogs like China are intent on massive growth in their own output. China may very well be the greatest producer of solar panels, I would not dispute that for a moment, but how much of its power generation is dependent upon them? What I am sure of is that China lone is responsible for one third of all the carbon output to the atmosphere and the UK is responsible for less than one percent. We could all vanish tomorrow up the fundament of virtue signalling, zero carbon output, and the planet would not notice at all, because China’s growth will replace it in a heartbeat.
While we freeze cowering over our ineffective air source heat pump radiator systems – and they are spectacularly bad at space heating in our climate, the Chinese will be happily digging up coal, importing coal in massive quantities and burning it in old fashioned coal fired power stations. As I understand it, it is already illegal to install an oil fired boiler, but a huge number of rural people have no gas supply. In a short time, you won’t be allowed to install a gas boiler even if you have gas, and according to my research, the suppliers of air source heat pump systems warn you very clearly that unless your house is totally draught proof and insulated to ridiculous standards (for my house which is a solid stone building, walls two feet thick and no cavity walls) the systems won’t heat adequately such a property. So – what on earth are the politicians doing banning any sort of practical heating system in pursuit of votes from the Green Party loons and Greta Thunberg fans?

Richard Audley
Richard Audley
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

What about Roman style underfloor heating?

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Audley

What about it? While we are on about the Roman’s what about throwing green fools to the lions?

Richard Audley
Richard Audley
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

There might be some animal welfare issues to contend with, but otherwise why not?

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Audley

Yes – indeed – the lions might be harmed by ingesting the bile filled eco loons. One ought to take care not to poison big cats. They deserve better.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

What an outrageous suggestion! Do you really not believe in the forthcoming catastrophe of Global Warming?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

No

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Audley

What about it – did they power it with windmills?

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

I think its a bit unfair to leave Germany out – shut nuclear and use lignite.

Last edited 1 year ago by Johnny Sutherland
Alex Mitchell
Alex Mitchell
1 year ago

Oil and gas companies are set to be a fantastic investment over the next few years as ‘ethical ‘ investors bail out, driving share prices down, but the likely failure of other energy sources to meet demand in the short term maintains profits (current oversupply notwithstanding).

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
1 year ago

Pace Peter, Carney has no halo to tarnish.
When he was Governor of the Bank of Canada he accepted, quite improperly, the offer of at least one family vacation at the Nova Scotia home of the then Liberal Finance critic, Scott Brison. (I write at least one, because when asked if the 2012 summer vacation was his only family vacation at Brison’s home, Carney refused to reply, maintaining that this was a purely personal matter.) After that, for a while, he was a Liberal Party of Canada attack dog, digging his fangs into Thomas Mulcair, the NDP leader of the Opposition. (The Liberal Party was then the third party in the House of Commons.) In a September 7 speech in Calgary called “Dutch Disease” he attacked, without naming him, one of Mulcair’s signature issues. Long a defender of a tax on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Mulcair, a former Quebec Environment Minister, drew on a paper by Serge Coulombe and others that claimed the Canadian manufacturing sector had lost 200,000 jobs between 2002 and 2008 due to the oil boom. The speech, showing Carney’s usual talent for forecasting, predicted continued expansion of oil prices for years in the future, so don’t worry about Dutch Disease. When asked to reconsider or clarify his remarks, which Opposition Leader Mulcair found highly offensive, he refused to do so, not even deigning to say that the kind of tax on GHG emissions Mulcair called for was a policy question that was not, and should not, be addressed in his speech. The speech continued to be widely referenced as an economic expert’s takedown on Mulcair’s proposed tax.
Not long after, Carney decided he would rather be Governor of the Bank of Canada, and his crusade in support of the Alberta oil sands came to an end. Even before he got the job, he had already decided that his new gig required him to support the UK CPI as the best British inflation measure available, although the Canadian CPI, which he had supported without a single caveat his entire public career, was very much more like the about-to-be-introduced RPIJ, which he never seems to have mentioned ever. He would go on to trash the RPI for alleged ( and imaginary) errors in the measurement of housing costs that had never bothered him in the Canadian CPI.
While still Governor of the Bank of England he suddenly emerged as a green warrior, seeing this as a way to become head of the IMF or the ECB or whatever he might have been angling for. The oil sands went from wonderful to awful. However, the big jobs never materialized. He didn’t even get a call to be Justin Trudeau’s Finance Minister, that post going to an economic illiterate who doesn’t know the difference between the deficit and the debt. But I digress. Now Peter asks if Carney isn’t betraying his principles by his current activities at Brookfield Asset Management, investing in the oil sands. Obviously not. Carney has no principles to betray. Peter hasn’t been paying attention.

D Ward
D Ward
1 year ago

I checked out my bills today. My electricity costs 19.68 pence per KWH. My gas, on the other hand, only costs 3.32 pence per KWH.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
1 year ago

the best way to decarbonise is to make it pay.


At the present time that seems to mean giving subsidies for which we either pay directly (windfarms feed in tariff) or are carbon taxed. NOt to optimistic for the future.

Jeff Andrews
Jeff Andrews
1 year ago

We didn’t sign up to net zero targets or for equally an ridiculous ‘decommissioning of dirty industries that have no place in the future.’
What planet are you on?

Otto Christensen
Otto Christensen
1 year ago

Things are so simple to the simple minded. Franklin on a thinly disguised witch hunt,

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
1 year ago

If this man is tarnished by his association with Brookfield, where does that leave David and Ruth Archer?