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The Case Against Green Central Banking

Summary:
The fact that central banks could use their limited policy tools to pursue climate targets does not mean that they should. There are far more effective climate measures available to fiscal policymakers and regulators, and central bankers already have enough on their plates. NEW YORK – One way or another, central banks’ behavior will have to change with the climate. But it should evolve only because climate change will create new constraints and drive new forms of public and private economic activity. Central banks’ primary function should not change, nor should they adopt “green” targets that could undermine the pursuit of their traditional objectives: financial stability and price stability (which in the United

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The fact that central banks could use their limited policy tools to pursue climate targets does not mean that they should. There are far more effective climate measures available to fiscal policymakers and regulators, and central bankers already have enough on their plates.

NEW YORK – One way or another, central banks’ behavior will have to change with the climate. But it should evolve only because climate change will create new constraints and drive new forms of public and private economic activity. Central banks’ primary function should not change, nor should they adopt “green” targets that could undermine the pursuit of their traditional objectives: financial stability and price stability (which in the United States is a dual mandate of price stability and maximum employment).

Climate change will be a defining global issue for decades to come, because we are still a very long way from ushering in a low-carbon, climate-resilient world. Three features of our greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions will impede the appropriate response. First, the benefits (cheap energy) are enjoyed in the present while the costs (global warming) are incurred in the future. Second, the benefits are “local” (they accrue to the GHG emitter) while the costs are global – a classic externality. Third, the most efficient methods of limiting GHG emissions impose disproportionate burdens on...

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