Whatever happened to Climate QE?


As the key question of how to pay for a global just transition to tackle the climate and nature crises came to the fore in Glasgow, the reality and paucity of what is actually on offer became clear.

Private investors were to be mandated to plan not act, Mark Carney’s Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) includes huge backers of fossil fuels, some of which have expanded these investments since signing up. Rishi Sunak is forced to consider climate but comes up with a ‘marketing slogan’ of a ‘net zero-aligned finance centre and a dust in the OECD’s government’s petty cash, ancient pledge of £100bn a year for the poorest countries, is not yet met.

What is clear is that massive upfront money is urgently required to respond to the global climate emergency and to fund a transition that does not make the majority poorer in the rich countries, so enhancing political support for the transformation required. Also crucial is the funding for mitigation and the transition for those in poorer countries.

The upfront and speedy availability of trillions to solve the last two global emergencies, the banking crisis of 2008 and the Covid pandemic was provided by the OECD’s major central banks. They have pumped more than $25 trillion into the global economy to bail out bankers and shore up economies in the face of Covid.

It’s time the third and potentially far more devastating global climate crisis should also be tackled by a comprehensive funding package – a ‘Climate QE’ or ‘QE for the planet’.

Surely such a proposal could have galvanised the COP26 meeting and significantly increased its chances of success.

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Radix is the radical centre think tank. We welcome all contributions which promote system change, challenge established notions and re-imagine our societies. The views expressed here are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily shared by Radix.

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