Central Banks and Climate Change

From a new VoxEU post:

“Central banks have been called on to contribute to fighting climate change. This column presents a framework for thinking about the issue and identifies some major trade-offs and choices. It argues that climate should be a major part of risk assessments and that capital ratios could be used in a proactive way by applying favourable regimes to ‘green’ loans and investments. It also suggests that central banks may want to take several climate change-related aspects into account when designing and implementing monetary policies. However, the central bank should retain absolute discretion to interrupt any action if its first-priority objective – price stability – were to be compromised.”

“The big question, however, is whether central banks can use their monetary instruments to actively promote the fight against climate change (Honohan 2019). Over the last decade, central banks have significantly expanded their balance sheets, often by a factor of five or ten. In many countries, those balance sheets are now commensurate to the size of the national economy.  With such an imprint on the economy and financial markets, central banks could take a more proactive approach to financing the climate transition.

Two possibilities come to mind, both without significant changes to the current operational framework:

  • Reorient their asset purchases towards ‘green’ securities
  • Modulate haircuts applied to different kinds of collateral used in refinancing operations, thus creating an incentive to detain some and offload others. “


Posted by at 1:25 PM

Labels: Energy & Climate Change


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