Christine Legarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, warned that the world risks a triple crisis of declining incomes, environmental damage and social unrest unless countries adopt a more sustainable approach to economic growth. |
Ahead of the Rio+20 Earth summit later this month, she said the rich should restrain their demands for higher incomes while there are still 200 million people worldwide looking for a job and poverty is on the rise.
Giving her clearest backing yet to green taxes and a range of measures to protect the environment, she argued for taxes on petrol-guzzling cars among a range of green measures to tackle climate change.
"It has been 20 years since world leaders first went to Rio to commit to the noble goal of protecting the planet for future generations. And now, 20 years on, we will be journeying back to Rio to affirm our commitment to sustainable development - the idea that we should strive for economic growth, environmental protection and social progress at the same time," she said in a speech in Washington on Tuesday.
"The idea that different economic, environmental and social objectives can be seen as distinct aspects of a single vision, essential parts of a connected whole."
She also said the current economic crisis in Europe and slowing growth worldwide, coupled with the growing threat from climate change and social tensions could wreck the efforts of leaders to chart a more sustainable future.
"Over the past four years, we have been mired in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And we are not out of it yet.
"In fact, tensions are on the rise again, and financial stability risks have once more moved front and center. Great uncertainty hangs over global prospects.