Political inaction on climate change may have been largely due to the global economic crisis, but Stern was emphatic that growth and climate management are not antithetical. "We must be very careful to think of development, mitigation and adaptation as together. Sometimes they get separated out. That's a logical and policy mistake of great magnitude," he said.
Climate change on the agenda for IMF, World Bank
Stern said it is time for governments to invest in low-carbon growth with clear and credible policies and instruments to manage risks. "We can't portray this as an artificial horse race of growth on the one hand and climate responsibility on the other," he said.
The political environment for action on climate change in 2014 is as good as it is going to get, said Stern, with U.S. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande promising action on reducing emissions, promoting clean energy and pricing carbon.
The IMF's chief managing director, Christine Lagarde, and the World Bank's vice president of sustainable development, Rachel Kyte, also spoke at the event, throwing the combined weight of their institutions behind climate-smart economic policy.
Lagarde said that the IMF's core mandate is to provide policy advice and technical assistance to countries on all issues directly and indirectly related to issues of growth, and climate change is central to revenue raising, sustainability and stability. "The same goes when we offer some expertise on carbon pricing. We must get prices right. It has many ramifications in terms of climate change and revenue raising," Lagarde said.
Lagarde and Kyte said that it is the role of global financial institutions to provide poor people the cushion when climate change pulls the rug from under their feet. Therefore, Kyte said, "It is not bizarre, odd, weird or off point for the IMF and the World Bank group to be talking about climate change as the next big economic risk."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500