Climate changes the agenda at IMF meeting

rethink sustainability

Climate changes the agenda at IMF meeting

It is the starkest warning of recent history. The world needs to make "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" over the next decade in order to keep climate change at bay and limit the threat of a raft of natural disasters affecting millions of people.

As ministers of finance from around the world join academics and journalists at the annual International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in Bali this week, governments are assessing the latest warnings about the future of the planet.

This week, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that there is just 12 years for global warming to be limited to 1.5C. After that and the risk of extreme heat, drought and floods heighten, bringing with them the possibility of poverty for communities around the world.

The announcement has been described as a clarion call from academics for governments around the world to act on the problem surrounding the climate and mobilise change.

Climate change was already anticipated to be a topic of constant debate at the IMF meeting as the event is being held in Indonesia, where there was an earthquake at the end of last month which prompted a tsunami, causing the deaths of almost 2,000 people.

The focus on the future climate illustrates how sustainability will become an increasing force in people's everyday lives in the future. The report from the IPCC highlights four specific areas where there needs to be fundamental change - energy, land use, cities and in energy. People on an individual level have been called on to drive via electric car, use washing lines instead of tumble dryers, travel by bus or train and even use video conferencing instead of travelling for work.

The focus on the future climate illustrates how sustainability will become an increasing force in people's everyday lives in the future.

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Amongst the many topics on the table for discussion at the IMF meeting are how investors should can operate in a world where the climate is changing, what the future for green finance is and how company's policies can be changed in order to deal with goals around sustainability.

The concern around climate change will arise at a meeting where alarm bells have already been sounded at the future state of the global economy. In the week before the first delegates started to arrive, IMF head Christine Lagarde warned that the outlook for the worldwide economy was not as positive as had been predicted last year. In July the IMF predicted that there would be 3.9% global growth for 2018 and 2019.

In the week before the first delegates started to arrive, IMF head Christine Lagarde warned that the outlook for the worldwide economy was not as positive as had been predicted last year.

This predication was cut to 3.7% in the latest world economic outlook from the IMF, released on Tuesday morning. At the heart of the problem is the increasing aggression in trade wars initiated by the United States, most notably against China, as president Donald Trump pursues his policy of "America First".

The two issues of climate change and trade are inextricably linked so commentators will be watching closely what comes of the conference this week.

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