Mark Carney: ‘I didn’t want the Bank of England job. But I was asked to fix something’

He earned a fortune at Goldman Sachs, but now the banker wants the financial sector to reassess its values and tackle the climate emergency

Mark Carney is no ordinary banker. He is the banker’s banker, the superstar banker, the George Clooney of banking, possibly even the James Bond of banking. The accolades bestowed on him are many: he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2010, the world’s most trusted Canadian in 2011, and hailed as Britain’s most influential Catholic (by The Tablet) in 2015.

Since leaving his post as governor of the Bank of England in March last year, Carney has turned his attention to saving the planet. He is now the United Nations’ special envoy for climate action and finance, and has been appointed by Boris Johnson as finance adviser for the UK presidency of the Cop26 climate change conference in Glasgow in November. Then there is his new job at Brookfield Asset Management, the world’s second-largest investor in climate-friendly businesses, where he is in charge of the impact fund. (In February, Carney was accused by climate experts of greenwashing after he claimed Brookfield was a “net zero” company. A few days later, he tweeted an acknowledgment that Brookfield’s investments in renewable energy are not the same as having net-zero emissions.) Last month it was announced he had joined the board of US digital payments giant Stripe, tasked with helping businesses fund emerging carbon-removal technologies. And he’s also managed to squeeze in a 600-page book, Value(s): Building A Better World For All. In it, Carney analyses the three global 21st-century crises: the financial crash, Covid, the climate crisis. He concludes that our values have been sacrificed at the altar of what is simply valuable; if we are to have any hope of avoiding an environmental Armageddon we must recover them.

The limits of Thatcher and Reagan’s approach, that the answer to everything is to create a market, are clear

I don’t shy away from the fact I worked for Goldman Sachs. I learned a lot, I have no regrets

Related: Bill Gates: ‘Carbon neutrality in a decade is a fairytale. Why peddle fantasies?’

I didn’t want to do the Bank of England job. But it was a challenge. The financial system had basically failed

Who is the most impressive British politician? ‘Gordon Brown. He has a mind like a hyperlink. Brown is a person of action’

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