Bank of England governor and Canadian Mark Carney will become the United Nations special envoy on climate action and climate finance in 2020, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of a climate summit that opens in Madrid on Monday, Guterres described Carney as “a remarkable pioneer in pushing the financial sector to work on climate.”
Carney, who is due to step down as head of the Bank of England in January, has urged the financial sector to transform its management of climate risk, and led various international initiatives to improve supervision and disclosure.
Guterres warned that not enough was being done by world leaders to combat climate change and called for action.
“For many decades, the human species has been at war with the planet and the planet is fighting back … we must stop our war against nature and science tells us that we can do it,” said the UN chief.
“The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is releasing its state of the climate report at this conference and its findings are clear. The last five years have been the hottest ever recorded, sea levels are the highest in human history, ice caps are melting at unprecedented speeds and the oceans are becoming more acidic with all its consequences,” he added.
World leaders attending the Madrid summit from Dec. 2-13 will be under pressure to forge ahead with attempts to curb temperature rises as regions on every continent experience extreme weather from floods to wildfires.
Speaking in Madrid on Sunday, Guterres said the world’s efforts to stop climate change have been “utterly inadequate” so far and there is a danger that global warming could pass the “point of no return.”
He said the impact of rising temperatures — including more extreme weather —- is already being felt around the world, with dramatic consequences for humans and other species.
Spain, which became summit host only three weeks ago after Chile’s cancellation due to civil unrest in the country, is calling for enthusiasm combined with credible proposals. Chile remains the event’s president, meaning it leads the negotiations alongside the UN.
Worldwide market for emissions a contentious issue
Guterres said he hoped the meeting will see governments make more ambitious pledges ahead of a deadline to do so next year.
He also said that creating a worldwide market for emissions, which is a key element of the sixth article of the Paris accord, remained one of the most contentious issues for negotiators.
“We are here to find answers for Article 6, not to find excuses,” Guterres said.
Organizers expect around 29,000 visitors, including some 50 heads of state and government for Monday’s opening, as well as scientists, seasoned negotiators and activists during the two-week meeting.
Some of the world’s largest carbon emitters — the United States, China and India — will be represented by ministers or lower-level officials.
The U.S. administration of President Donald Trump, which has announced the country’s intention to withdraw from the Paris agreement, is represented by Marcia Bernicat, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading a delegation of Democratic lawmakers to the talks.
More than 5,000 police officers are charged with keeping the summit safe, Spain’s Interior Ministry said Sunday.
Although authorities have stepped up border controls and cybersecurity measures, authorities have kept the country’s terror alert one level under the highest, where it has been ever since extremist attacks in Tunisia and France in mid-2015.