Use IMF funds to fight climate change, says George Soros

Irish Times

AS CONSERVATIONISTS warned that marine life is increasingly threatened by acidifying oceans, billionaire financier George Soros yesterday revealed plans to unlock $100 billion in funding to fight climate change.

“I’ve found a way for someone else to pay . . . to mobilise reserves that are lying idle,” he said, calling on developed countries to donate their special drawing rights (SDRs)from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued last year to help them cope with the financial crisis.

He estimated that the 15 richest developed countries hold $150 billion worth of these SDRs, sitting largely untouched in their foreign reserve accounts, and said most of this money could be donated to a fund that would invest in low-carbon energy and rainforest protection.

“This is a win-win opportunity for developed and developing countries to work together,” added Mr Soros, who made a fortune from currency speculation and now chairs the Open Society Institute, established to promote tolerant democracies with accountable governments.

The Hungarian-born financier said the release of SDRs would make an immediate impact in breaking the funding deadlock in Copenhagen.

“All that is lacking is the political will to fight global warming in the developing world by using the existing allocations of SDRs.”

Oxfam International’s Robert Bailey said: “Finally someone is showing the kind of innovative thinking needed to make this deal worth its salt. Soros’s proposal shows exactly the kind of ambition and urgency we need to see from rich country governments themselves.”

Greenpeace International’s executive director, Kumi Naidoo, said money was “one of the keys to a good outcome in Copenhagen”, adding that every world leader should study Mr Soros’s proposal so they could “put the money on the table by the end of next week”.

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