Another day, another icon of the global financial system becomes a climate hawk. You may recall World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said of the climate crisis: “If there is no action soon, the future will become bleak.” Turns out IMF managing director Christine Lagarde is also a climate hawk — and she’s the former conservative finance minister of France. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, she said, “the real wild card in the pack” of economic pivot points is “Increasing vulnerability from resource scarcity and climate change, with the potential for major social and economic disruption.” She called climate change “the greatest economic challenge of the 21st century.” Ms. Lagarde concluded with a call for a new kind of economic growth. “So we need growth, but we also need green growth that respects environmental sustainability. Good ecology is good economics. This is one reason why getting carbon pricing right and removing fossil fuel subsidies are so important.” In response to a question from the audience, she said: “Unless we take action on climate change, future generations will be roasted, toasted, fried and grilled.” Perhaps the IMF can release an analysis as blunt as the stunning World Bank Climate Report from November that concluded: “A 4°C [7°F] world can, and must, be avoided” to avert “devastating” impacts. Its 2012 release, “Fiscal Policy to Mitigate Climate Change: A Guide for Policymakers,” was kind of a yawner. Then we need to see the IMF actually focus on environmentally sustainable growth, as opposed to say, our currently unsustainable trajectory, which will roast, toast, fry and grill countless future generations.
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