Year 2, Month 9, Day 25: Blind Pigs And All That

Usually I have almost nothing but contempt for the World Bank, the IMF and the other tentacles of the global vampire squid. But as the September 21st issue of the Washington Post tells us, they’ve got something right:

AMSTERDAM — Global financial institutions are recommending raising money to fight climate change by trimming subsidies for fossil fuels, putting a price tag of $25 per ton on carbon emissions and collecting a surcharge on aviation and shipping fuels.

The recommendations are part of a draft paper by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international groups prepared for a meeting Friday in Washington of G20 finance and development ministers. It was leaked prematurely and distributed Wednesday by aid agencies.

The ministers of the world’s 20 largest economies are responding to a commitment to channel $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries adapt to global warming and develop low-carbon economies.

But Republicans won’t eat acorns, no matter what. Sent Sept. 21:

If the recommendations from the World Bank and the IMF actually gain traction in the policy-making sectors of government, it would mark a sea-change in political approaches to the climate crisis. Their suggestions err only on in being too conservative; fossil fuel prices should reflect the true cost of these commodities, including not only the long-term mitigation of their health and environmental effects but all those expensive wars we fight to protect our sources. When these factors are taken into account it is evident that burning carbon is an exceptionally costly to fuel a civilization.

A price on carbon likewise cries out for implementation. A “fee-and-dividend” scheme would return monies directly to consumers, partially offsetting increased energy costs.

Alas, Washington is unlikely to respond meaningfully to these recommendations. As Mr. Clinton remarked, GOP-induced policy paralysis and reflexive climate denialism makes America a joke in the eyes of the world.

Warren Senders