IMF head urges COP26 leaders to ramp up climate ambition

International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva urged advanced economies to reduce emissions "for reasons of equity and historical responsibility". PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva on Sunday (31 Oct) urged world leaders gathered at the COP26 summit in Glasgow to show greater policy ambition, calling climate change a "grave threat to macroeconomic and financial stability".

Dr Georgieva published a blog post, titled Climate Threat Demands More Ambitious Global Action, before heading to Glasgow, where she will take part in the climate talks, according to an IMF spokesman.

If unchanged, "global policies will leave 2030 carbon emissions far higher than needed" to keep alive the goal of limiting global warming to only 1.5 deg C, wrote the IMF managing director.

"To achieve these cuts, policymakers attending COP26 must address two critical gaps: in ambition and in policy."

Dr Georgieva urged advanced economies to reduce emissions "for reasons of equity and historical responsibility".

"Even if current commitments for 2030 were met, this would only amount to between one- and two-thirds of the reductions needed for temperature goals," she said. "Regardless of how cuts are spread across country groups, everyone has to do more."

The IMF head called on advanced economies to stick to their commitment to provide US$100 billion (S$135 billion) per year in financing to low-income countries, starting in 2020, to offset the cost of moving away from fossil fuels.

She warned that the latest figures show "we remain short of that target".

Dr Georgieva also argued that widespread carbon pricing should play a central role in climate policy, and could help "jump-start emissions reductions".

"A global carbon price exceeding US$75 per tonne would be needed by 2030 to keep warming below 2 deg C", she wrote.

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