Amar Bhattacharya, Maksym Ivanyna, William Oman, and Nicholas Stern
Climate change is a major threat to the sustainability and inclusiveness of our societies, and to the planet’s habitability. A just transition to a low-carbon economy is the only viable way forward. This paper reviews the climate change challenge. It stresses the criticality of systems changes (energy, transport, urban, land use, water) in a climate-challenged world, and the importance of infrastructure investment geared toward such systems changes. The key policies to enable the transition are: public spending on and investment frameworks for sustainable infrastructure, pricing carbon, regulations, promoting sustainable use of natural resources, scaling up and aligning finance with climate objectives, low-carbon industrial and innovation policies, building resilience and adaptation, better measurement of well-being and sustainability, and providing information and education on climate risks. Implemented well, climate action would unlock the inclusive growth story of the 21st century, making our societies more sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous.
Declining commodity prices during mid-2014-2016 posed significant challenges to commodity-exporting economies. The severe terms of trade shock associated with a sharp fall in world commodity prices have raised anew questions about the viability of pegged exchange rate regimes. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures needed to contain its spread have been associated with a significant disruption in several economic sectors, in particular, travel, tourism, and hospitality industry, adding to the downward pressure on commodity prices, a sharp fall in foreign exchange earnings, and depressed economic activity in most commodity exporters. This paper reviews country experiences with different exchange rate regimes in coping with commodity price shocks and explores the role of flexible exchange rates as a shock absorber, analyzing the macroeconomic impact of adverse term-of-trade shocks under different regimes using event study and panel vector autoregression techniques. It also analyzes, conceptually and empirically, policy and technical considerations in making exchange rate regime choices and discusses the supporting policies that should accompany a given regime choice to make that choice sustainable. It offers lessons that could be helpful to the Caribbean commodity-exporters.