26 Jan 2019 17:46 IST

‘Even central banks need to take climate change into account’

At WEF meet in Davos, IMF chief Christine Lagarde outlines the biggest risks to global economies

Terming climate change as one of the most pressing issues for the global economy, IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Friday said even central banks would need to take it into account in their policy decisions.

She was speaking at a session on ‘Global economy in transition’ on the last day of the five-day World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019 at Davos, in Switzerland. She said even central banks, banks, insurance companies and almost all industries would need to take climate change into account. While some industries may be impacted more and some relatively less, all need to do their bit, she added.

“It’s very easy to be lost in the headlines ... but what we really want to do ... is not focus on the headlines. So I’m not going to give you the economic outlook,” Lagarde said. “We are going to really focus on risks, opportunities, that are out there ... I’m going to start with one which is clearly on everybody’s mind — climate change.”

The planet’s average surface temperature has risen by 1 degree Celsius since the late 19th century, she said, and most of this warming has occurred in the last 35 years.

World Bank’s CEO Kristalina Georgieva said climate change is happening faster than we thought it would. This is having a huge impact on the economy, she added.

An increase of 2.5 degrees Celsius shaves 15 per cent off the global GDP, she warned. “(If) it goes up to 3 degrees we lose 25 per cent of the GDP and the cost in terms of suffering is unmeasurable,” she added.