There are demands on central banks and financial regulators to take on new responsibilities for supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. Regulators can indeed facilitate the reorientation of financial flows necessary for the transition. But their powers should not be overestimated. Their diagnostic and policy toolkits are still in their infancy. They cannot (and should not) expand their mandate unilaterally. Taking on these new responsibilities can also have potential pitfalls and unintended consequences. Ultimately, financial regulators cannot deliver a low-carbon economy by themselves and should not risk being caught again in the role of ‘the only game in town.’
Khaled Eltokhy, Ms. Katja Funke, Guohua Huang, Yujin Kim, and Genet Zinabou
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, governments around the world announced unprecedented fiscal packages to address the economic impact of the crisis. The unusually large scale of the packages was accompanied by widespread calls for “greening” them to meet the dual goals of economic recovery and environmental sustainability. In response, several researchers and international organizations attempted to assess the “greenness” of the fiscal policy response of the world’s largest economies. This paper takes stock of the contributions made by these various trackers, identifies strengths and weaknesses of their methodologies, and draws lessons for assessing the climate impact of fiscal policy going forward. It finds that: trackers provided useful assessments of the (generally low) level of greenness and raised awareness; trackers’ methodologies, while valid and innovative, varied significantly with some important, if currently largely unavoidable, weaknesses; and the way forward should involve tracking the greenness of entire government budgets, rather than just their response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of this century. Mitigation requires a large-scale transition to a low-carbon economy. This paper provides an overview of the rapidly growing literature on the role of macroeconomic and financial policy tools in enabling this transition. The literature provides a menu of policy tools for mitigation. A key conclusion is that fiscal tools are first in line and central, but can and may need to be complemented by financial and monetary policy instruments. Some tools and policies raise unanswered questions about policy tool assignment and mandates, which we describe. The literature is scarce, however, on the most effective policy mix and the role of mitigation tools and goals in the overall policy framework.