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
What happens when the biggest player in global economic policy circles shuts itself down?
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.”
LBJ did it. So did Bill Clinton. Gerald Ford did it twice, Jimmy Carter did it just five weeks before being voted out of office, then Ronald Reagan turned around and did it the following year, and three more times after that.
Goals Are Good (Whether You’re Running a Marathon or the World Bank), But It’s the Strategy That Really Matters
I have a goal of running a faster marathon at 47 than I did at 27. It helps that I wasn’t exactly a world class runner twenty years ago, and I still have a few years to reach my goal. But if you wanted to place a bet on me, you would probably want to know what my plan is for getting there.
As expected, the president’s budget includes a request for Congress to approve US participation in the 2010 IMF quota reform agreement. There’s a very strong case for approving the request, and I’ll simply point you here, here, and here to read it in detail. Suffice it to say, the IMF is a bargain for US taxpayers, promoting growth and stability globally in ways that directly benefit the US economy and often working in support of US strategic interests around the world.
The World Bank just wrapped up a public consultation on the Doing Business report as part of a closely-watched independent review of the report led by Trevor Manuel.
I’ll tell you what I think about Doing Business, but first I need to let you in on a little secret about policymakers. Here it is: you need to keep it simple for them.
Morris, a newly arrived CGD visiting policy fellow, was previously the deputy assistant secretary for development finance and debt at the U.S. Treasury Department, where he led US engagement with the multilateral development banks.