Is the US taking a more restrictive stance toward coal projects in the multilateral development banks (MDBs)? Certainly, this press release from the US Treasury and subsequent press coverage would suggest a major policy shift. Technically, the Treasury’s announcement does point pretty clearly to more restrictiveness. But practically speaking?
CGD Policy Blogs
Over the past few months, quite a bit of high-level rhetoric has surrounded World Bank funding of coal projects in developing countries. On one side, Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, stated that “it is no longer necessary [for the World Bank to invest in coal projects] because we have many other technologies that can come forward.” On the other side, World Bank president Jim Kim stated that “we will look for everything we can possibly do to avoid [coal projects] but look, poor people should not pay the price with their lives of mistakes that people have been making in the developed world for a very long time.”
Is it possible to alter national governments and global institutions so that decision makers can focus on the vitally important longer term challenges, while still dealing with the urgent considerations which crowd their daily agenda? That’s the important and difficult question set before the The Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations. My guest on this week’s Wonkcast is Ian Goldin, director of the Oxford Martin School and the driving force behind the commission.
Many obstacles to development transcend national borders and therefore cannot be adequately addressed within a single country. These include issues such as drug resistance and other cross-border health risks, financial crises contagion, money laundering, water scarcity, fisheries collapse and, of course, climate change. Economists call efforts to address these problems Global Public Goods (GPGs). Like other public goods, funding for GPGs is chronically in short supply: of $125 billion in annual official development assistance (ODA ) only about $3 billion goes to GPGs.
World Bank president Jim Kim delivered a speech and responded to questions today at Brookings in his first public event since taking the helm at the world’s top development organization on July 1. He struck me as thoughtful, well-informed, articulate and dedicated to multilateralism and the bank’s mission of reducing global poverty. You can see his speech and the Q&A here.
IMF managing director Christine Lagarde startled IFI watchers last week by warning at a CGD-hosted speech that the world faces “a triple crisis—an economic crisis, an environmental crisis and, increasing, a social crisis.”
IMF managing director Christine Lagarde announced at a CGD event on Tuesday that the IMF would provide research and analytic support in three areas crucial to sustainable development: carbon pricing, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and green national accounting, that is, development of new measures of economic progress that take into account environmental costs and benefits not included in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
IMF Chief Warns of Triple Crisis—Economic, Environment, Social—Details IMF Actions to Help on Climate
In a major departure from the IMF’s traditional focus on narrowly defined economic problems, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde warned today that the world faces “a triple crisis—an economic crisis, an environmental crisis and, increasing, a social crisis.”
Climate change politics are strange. Innovation, even when it’s about easy new money, is hard. That’s the lesson I extract from what happened on March 4th in the IMF boardroom.