ECB’s Christine Lagarde to ‘explore every avenue available’ to tackle climate change

Energy

Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, speaks to the media following a meeting of the ECB governing board on March 12, 2020 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Thomas Lohnes | Getty Images Europe | Getty Images

Christine Lagarde, the president of the European Central Bank, has hinted that the institution could use its asset purchase program to focus on green goals.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Lagarde made a commitment to look at “greener” changes to operations at the euro zone’s central bank, including its bond buying.

“I want to explore every avenue available in order to combat climate change,” she told the publication. “This is something that I hold very strongly.” 

Lagarde added that the bank “has to look at all the business lines and the operations in which we are engaged in order to tackle climate change, because at the end of the day, money talks.”

As part of its pandemic emergency purchase program, the ECB is buying 1.35 trillion euros of assets in the region. This is on top of its bond-buying program of 20 billion euros per month.

Lagarde’s comments represent the latest move by European officials and governments emphasizing the importance of both the environment and the economy.

Later on Wednesday, Rishi Sunak, the U.K.’s finance minister, is expected to lay out green investment plans worth billions of pounds as part of his summer statement.

In June, German Chancellor Angela Merkel unveiled a 130 billion euro “economic stimulus and future technologies package.”

At the time, the German government described the package as being “geared to climate change mitigation and to promoting the technologies that will be important in future, alongside social-policy components.”

The European Commission’s overarching plan for the European Union to be climate neutral by 2050, the European Green Deal, is backed by financial initiatives such as the Just Transition Mechanism.

This aims to mobilize “at least” 150 billion euros between 2021 and 2027 and will focus on “regions that are the most carbon-intensive or with the most people working in fossil fuels.”

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