IMF Spring Meeting: Finance Ministers from 22 countries want to make CO2 more expensive

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In the fight against climate change, many finance ministers want to work better together internationally – and to work worldwide for an effective increase in the price of carbon dioxide.

The agreed 22 countries from all over the world on Saturday at the Spring International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington. For Germany, Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) signed.

Effective pricing for carbon dioxide (CO2), the key greenhouse gas, can be achieved through a reduction in subsidies for fossil fuels or regulations to limit CO2 emissions, according to a joint statement. Also mentioned are effective emissions trading schemes or environmental taxes that are related to carbon dioxide emissions, as the Ministry of Finance announced.

IMF head Christine Lagarde also called for an end to subsidies for fossil fuels. "We believe that giving up subsidies for fossil fuels is the way to go," she said. Worldwide, $ 5.2 trillion in subsidies had been paid in 2015. This could be used to build many schools and roads. However, a social network must be strained, so that the subsidy reduction will not be carried out on the backs of the workers in the industries.

The Finance Ministers' joint statement further states that the consequences of climate change should in future be made more transparent also in budgetary and financial policy, as they are already taken more into account in budgeting and public investment. The "Climate Coalition", coordinated by the World Bank, also wants to boost private investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

In addition to Germany, the signatories to the alliance include France, Great Britain, Chile, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Spain and Sweden – but not the USA.

The establishment of the Climate Coalition comes shortly after the first meeting of the Climate Cabinet of the Federal Government. A possible CO2 pricing in transport and other areas should also be a topic in the deliberations. The aim of a CO2 price is to make the emission of the most important greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) more expensive. This could be about driving cars with internal combustion engines.

Meanwhile, at the Spring meeting, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called on the IMF to pay more attention to China's lending. "Liabilities to emerging creditors are at a critical juncture," the minister said in a statement to the IMF's steering committee. By that he means China, which currently lends large sums to developing and emerging economies in particular.

However, Chinese financial institutions do not feel bound by the international transparency rules of the so-called Paris Club. The IMF also fears that unhealthy high debt levels will be created in this way, especially in developing countries, which may lead to crises in some time. However, the US also has high liabilities to China.

Against the backdrop of increasing political influence on the policy of central banks, IMF head Christine Lagarde campaigned for the preservation of monetary policy independence. "Independence has served them well and hopefully will do so in the future," said Lagarde on Saturday at the Spring Summit.

Most recently, US President Donald Trump was increasingly involved in the monetary policy of the US Federal Reserve. Trump had publicly advocated a more cautious interest rate policy to strengthen the US economy and thus also to promote its own electoral opportunities. In addition, he has influenced the course of the central bank with political nominations.

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