Unearthed today: UK govt distances itself from Carney carbon market plan

The Carney taskforce has airlines and oil companies as members but no green groups


Unearthed reporters

Photo: Bank of England, Creative Commons

Hello readers,

Zach here, filling it for Damian’s morning musings. I’ve just spoken to the UK’s COP unit about Mark Carney’s carbon markets launch yesterday evening — and they made it clear that it was not associated with the government or his role as Boris Johnson’s climate finance advisor.

“The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets is a private sector-led initiative, which was launched by Mark Carney last year in a non-governmental capacity.

“We know finance has a pivotal role to play in tackling climate change. We have seen good progress but more is needed.”

At Davos yesterday, Carney – who also moonlights as the UN’s special envoy for climate finance and has a day job with a private equity firm – released his taskforce’s blueprint for how to scale up the voluntary carbon market following a surge in demand for offsets.

The taskforce includes some of the world’s most polluting companies, including easyJet, Boeing, BP, Shell, Total, and steel producer Tata Steel but has no members from green groups.

And so, predictably, green groups were quick to criticise the proposal. In a letter to Carney, the leaders of Greenpeace UK and the Wildlife Trust detailed their concerns and warned that “there is a danger that it becomes a large international greenwashing exercise, creating a market with low standards but high PR value.”

3 things you need to know

Renewables have overtaken fossil fuels in the UK power mix for the first time: Wind, solar, bio-energy and hydro (water) power generated a record 42% of UK power last year, while fossil fuels – mostly gas – produced 41%, according to a new report by energy experts Ember and Agora Energiewende.

Biden signs another set of climate-focused executive actions: The new president is directing the Department of the Interior to pause oil and gas drilling leases on federal lands and water “to the extent possible” and to launch a review of existing energy leases.

Humpback whales face climate-driven decline: Scientists say decline in calves born in the past 15 years due to diminishing herring stocks in warming north Atlantic.