Remember when over the past four years, we were warned repeatedly about the dangers of “politicizing” the Federal Reserve? Well, apparently, that had nothing to do with politics per se, just which side was doing the politicizing. Now that a different party is pushing the Fed in another direction, we don’t hear much about the dangers of politicizing the Fed anymore.
Indeed, an op-ed in the Financial Times goes one step further, arguing that the Fed – and central banks in general – should not only be above politics but allowed to dictate the rules for us mere mortals by executive fiat. And what issue is so important that it can’t be left to our elected representatives to decide what to do? Well, climate change, of course.
“We are facing a climate emergency that demands collective action, and central banks must undergo another transformation, perhaps an uncomfortable one, to play their part in dealing with it,” the author writes. “By reshaping their interventions in asset markets, they can accelerate reductions in carbon emissions and change the cost of capital to address hidden climate risks in the financial system.”
“The magnitude of the physical risks associated with climate change means central banks need to use their full suite of powers to help the transition towards a low-carbon world. And one of their tools is speed,” the writer continues. “Rather than waiting for governments to agree on legislation, investment programs or carbon taxes, central banks can act now to reflect better the cost of climate change in the cost of capital and to change the behavior of businesses, increasing it for emitters and lowering it for investment in carbon reduction (emphasis mine).”
In other words, who needs laws when the Fed can just order us around? Continue reading "Be Careful What You Wish For"