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Well, seems they're beginning to get a handle on the basic issue -- but can
they follow through with real and appropriate policy?
IMF chief Christine Lagarde warns world risks triple crisis
Lagarde says world risks falling incomes, environmental damage and social
unrest without more sustainable approach to growth
Phillip Inman, Guardian On-line, Tuesday 12th June 2012
Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, has warned
that the world risks a triple crisis of declining incomes, environmental
damage and social unrest unless countries adopt a more sustainable approach
to economic growth.
Ahead of the Rio+20 Earth summit later this month, she said the rich should
restrain their demands for higher incomes while there are still 200 million
people worldwide looking for a job and poverty is on the rise.
Giving her clearest backing yet to green taxes and a range of measures to
protect the environment, she argued for taxes on petrol-guzzling cars among
a range of green measures to tackle climate change.
"It has been 20 years since world leaders first went to Rio to commit to the
noble goal of protecting the planet for future generations. And now, 20
years on, we will be journeying back to Rio to affirm our commitment to
sustainable development – the idea that we should strive for economic
growth, environmental protection and social progress at the same time," she
said in a speech in Washington on Tuesday.
"The idea that different economic, environmental and social objectives can
be seen as distinct aspects of a single vision, essential parts of a
But she said the current economic crisis in Europe and slowing growth
worldwide, coupled with the growing threat from climate change and social
tensions could wreck the efforts of leaders to chart a more sustainable
"Over the past four years, we have been mired in the worst economic crisis
since the Great Depression. And we are not out of it yet.
"In fact, tensions are on the rise again, and financial stability risks have
once more moved front and centre. Great uncertainty hangs over global
"Too many regions today are still stuck in a trap of low growth and high
unemployment," she said.
"Right now, 200 million people worldwide cannot find work, including 75
million young people trying to take their first step on the ladder of
"So we need a strategy that is good for stability and good for growth –
where stability is conducive to growth and growth facilitates stability."
Lagarde, a right-wing former French finance minister, recently caused a
storm of controversy after she accused Europeans of blocking progress to
end the current financial crisis. Asked if she sympathised with Greeks
impoverished by austerity measurers demanded by Brussels, she said the
children of Niger were more her concern. It also emerged that Lagarde pays
no tax on her $467,940 (£298,675) a year salary.
Ahead of the summit, she said taxes on petrol and other carbon fuels could
raise billions of dollars for green investment projects. "Right now, less
than 10% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are covered by formal
pricing programmes. Only a handful of cities charge for the use of
gridlocked roads. Farmers in rich countries are undercharged – if charged
at all – for increasingly scarce water resources."
She added: "Many countries continue to subsidise polluting energy systems.
These subsidies are costly for the budget and costly for the planet.
Countries should reduce them. But in doing so, they must protect vulnerable
groups by tightly focusing subsidies on products used by poorer people, and
by strengthening social safety nets."
"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burrough, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')
Paul's book, "Energy Beyond Oil", is out now!
For details see http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/ebo/
Read my 'essay' weblog, "Ecolonomics", at:
Paul Mobbs, Mobbs' Environmental Investigations
3 Grosvenor Road, Banbury OX16 5HN, England
tel./fax (+44/0)1295 261864
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