Carbon pricing: World Bank and IMF engagement


CCL’s Joe Robertson speaks at the Civil Society Town Hall meeting at the World Bank.

CCL at the World Bank and IMF Meetings

CCL’s Global Strategy Director Joe Robertson spent last week attending the fall meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington. He filed this field report Oct. 9, 2014:

Making Connections

On Tuesday, I attended a roundtable discussion with 19 of the World Bank’s 25 Executive Directors, representing the governments that guide and manage the Banks’s activities. I was able to speak directly with three of them, and establish that we will follow up after the Annual Meetings to build support for the Pathway to Paris project and for direct citizen engagement.

On Wednesday, I had the good fortune to meet an old college friend reporting for World Moms Blog, and introduce her to our Prof. Susanna Cafaro, an international law scholar from Italy, who advises us on European political process, herself a mom who works to improve transparency, accountability and democratic engagement at international institutions.

[CCL volunteer] John Hansen and I attended a morning session on carbon pricing, where we established a relationship with the lead carbon pricing team of policy experts at the IMF. We were also able to connect with top communications staff for the IMF, who agreed to work with us to share information, contacts, events and communications strategy, with the Pathway to Paris project.

We have been invited by both the World Bank and IMF economics staff to provide technical briefings on Fee and Dividend and its potential for propagating strong carbon pricing, even in the absence of a binding UN protocol.

Influencing the Global Process for carbon pricing

We met with a leading energy policy advisor for India, who has agreed to talk to us about elevating a revenue-neutral carbon tax as a vital instrument for speeding the transition to clean, renewable energy there. It now appears that by the end of this year, we will have the opportunity to advise World Bank and IMF staff, as well as leading technical advisors working with the European Union, the city of Beijing and the government of India.

The Civil Society Town Hall

At 5:00 pm Wednesday, World Bank President Dr. Jim Kim and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde hosted a Civil Society Town Hall. We sat roughly 12 feet away from them, across a large round conference table, and I was able to ask both of them to commit to requiring carbon pricing as a condition of a government’s being rated as fiscally responsible in lending programs and to provide direct support to the Pathway to Paris initiative to build always-active advisory connections between citizens, stakeholders, policy-makers, businesses and governments.

These were their responses:

Mme. Lagarde…

  • We see a carbon price as essential.
  • It’s good for fiscal health.
  • We will be working to provide support for enacting carbon prices: carbon tax or otherwise.
  • “We will be on that page; it’s part and parcel of growth.”

Dr. Kim…

  • “A stable price on carbon would be the most powerful tool for moving the world forward [in mitigating climate change, building a clean economy and eradicating poverty].”
  • Dr. Kim specifically cited Rachel Kyte’s climate change team, with whom we are working, as the best way to leverage theWorld Bank for building our network of support, and then added: “If you’re not part of the discussion, I think you should be.”
  • He noted that the 74 governments that have joined the World Bank’s statement to Put a Price on Carbon account for 52% of global GDP and that 1,000 companies “including Saudi-Aramco” have signed on.
  • “To have Christine Lagarde and the IMF leading the charge on getting rid of fuel subsidies is not an everyday occurrence; this has been because of Christine’s leadership…”
  • “All you’ve got to do is ask the people who live under the boot of climate change every day to know there’s a real cost…”

Thank you and a little something extra…

It is an immense privilege to work with all of you and to be doing this on your behalf. On Saturday, we will be hosting CCL’s third Civil Society Policy Forum session. Details are available at:

As a last side-note, at the end of the civil society reception last night, a young man who had been in our spring seminar at the WorldBank came over bouncing with joy, explaining that the event was, in his words, “by far the best, most engaging and educational of all the sessions I attended”. He said the experience of direct engagement and being able to share ideas while learning from everyone in the room was invaluable and gave him hope that there are people who are doing what needs doing to get this solved.

This is important, because it shows we can translate the CCL model into a wider policy arena and use the Pathway to Paris process to provide both policy-makers and citizens with this experience of empowering, direct engagement.