Bank of England hits 2030 climate target early as pandemic affects air travel

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The Bank of England said it had briefly met its climate targets nine years earlier as policymakers were unable to travel around the world due to the pandemic.

In its second annual climate-related financial reporting report, the Bank said its carbon emissions had temporarily fallen 74% this year, exceeding its target of reducing its footprint by 63% by 2030.

The Bank said this was due to the combined impact of the Covid-19 crisis on air travel, as well as its shift to renewable sources of electricity.

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(PA Media)

Overall, the Bank said emissions – from powering its buildings, printing banknotes and air travel – were reduced by 53% in 2020-2021.

This is the biggest drop in its carbon footprint in a single year since the Bank started measuring this five years ago.

He expects part of the reduction in carbon emissions to come as restrictions on international travel relax and air travel resumes.

But he stressed that he remains on track to meet his carbon target by 2030 and also pledged this year to be net zero by 2050 at the latest.

Bank Governor Andrew Bailey said: “Despite the challenges posed by Covid, we have delivered on our climate commitments.”

He added: “As we look to a decade that climate science says must implement real climate action, the Bank of England will continue to play its role.

“Key to our success will be turning new climate-related work, such as disclosures and monitoring expectations, into day-to-day operations.

“This year’s report represents another big step on this journey.

The Bank’s report also showed that the carbon footprint of its corporate bond portfolio – which doubled in its emergency response to the pandemic – was reduced by 9%.

He said this was not due to the impact of the pandemic, but reflected reductions in emissions from emitting companies.

But the sustainable economy campaign group Positive Money called on the bank to step up its efforts after claiming the report showed its asset purchases were funding 3Cs of global warming – double the 1.5C target it was targeting. the British government is committed via the Paris Agreement.

David Barmes, Senior Economist at Positive Money, said: “Although it is taking steps in the right direction, the Bank needs to show more ambition and leadership ahead of the COP26 climate conference.

“Building on existing policies, which focus on collecting more data, will not be enough. “

Last month, the Bank pledged to make its corporate bond purchase program “greener”, setting targets for overall issuance of its holdings, as well as investing in corporate bonds. green businesses when available.

It has come under pressure in recent years to factor carbon emissions into its holdings of corporate bonds.

The Bank is investing £ 20bn in corporate debt as part of its massive £ 895bn bond-buying quantitative easing program.

The Bank also recently announced its first stress test to examine the resilience of Britain’s largest banks and insurers to climate change risks over the next 30 years.

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