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Full Version: World Bank & IMF push hard for price on carbon
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The IMF and World Bank have urged finance ministers to impose a price on carbon, warning that time is running out for the planet to avoid worst-case climate change.

The heads of the two global economic institutions convened ministers from 46 countries - including the US, China, India and European powers - on the sidelines of spring meetings in Washington to press the case for urgent climate action.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, joining the talks, said 2014 was a "critical moment for humanity". He urged policymakers to think of concrete action before a September climate summit he has called in New York.

Ban pointed to the latest report by the UN's panel of climate scientists, saying it "has made it quite clear that climate change is happening and approaching much faster than one may expect".

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release on Sunday a 2000-page report in which it is expected to give a 15-year window for affordable action to limit warming to 2C over pre-industrial times - a level seen as avoiding catastrophic damage in terms of droughts, fires and rising water levels.

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde said economies needed to put a price on carbon - the most common greenhouse gas blamed for climate change.

"The world needs to fight climate change with much, much greater seriousness," Kim said.

"We know that climate change will threaten economic growth - especially in the poorest countries, but everywhere as well.

"Despite the fact that it's controversial, we've got to tackle the issue of carbon pricing."

Australia's government, led by climate sceptic Prime Minister Tony Abbott, has moved to abolish a carbon tax and instead is seeking a plan that includes incentives for companies to increase energy efficiency.
Lagarde said she was recommending for finance ministers to shift more of the tax burden onto carbon rather than focusing on taxing investments or workers.

Lagarde also renewed a call for an elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels, which are sensitive in countries where consumers are accustomed to cheap energy.

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