New Light or Fixed Presumptions?: The OECD, the IMF and the treatment of climate change issues

David Henderson

Published: December 2007

Two leading international agencies, the OECD and the IMF, are now becoming more closely involved with climate change issues, in conjunction with finance and economics ministries within their member countries. This broader official involvement opens up an opportunity: it could lead to a more informed and less presumptive treatment of the issues. At present, however, there is no sign that the opportunity will be perceived as such. In both the agencies and national capitals, it is taken for granted that ‘the science’ can be viewed as ‘settled’, and that the established advisory process which governments have created is objective and authoritative. For reasons set out here, this is not the right point of departure. A new framework is needed—less presumptive, more inclusive, more watertight professionally, and more attuned to the huge uncertainties that remain. Besides dealing with specifically economic aspects, work in both agencies should be directed more broadly to creating such a framework.

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