The IMF and World Bank on Friday urged finance ministers toimpose a price on carbon, warning that time was running out for the planet to avoidworst-case climate change.The heads of the two global economic institutions convened ministers from 46countries -- including the United States, China, India and European powers -- on thesidelines of spring meetings in Washington to press the case for urgent climateaction.UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, joining the talks, said that 2014 was a "criticalmoment for humanity." He urged policymakers to think of concrete action before aSeptember climate summit he has called in New York.Ban pointed to the latest report by the UN's panel of climate scientists, saying it"has made it quite clear that climate change is happening and approaching muchfaster than one may expect."The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release Sunday in Berlin thefull version of a 2,000-page report in which it is expected to give a 15-year windowfor affordable action to limit warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) overpre-industrial times -- a level seen as avoiding catastrophic damage in terms ofdroughts, fires and rising water levels.While a draft seen by AFP does not give preferences on how to tame climate change,World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and International Monetary Fund ManagingDirector Christine Lagarde said that economies needed to put a price on carbon --the most common greenhouse gas blamed for climate change."The world needs to fight climate change with much, much greater seriousness," Kimtold reporters before heading into the talks. "We know that climate change willthreaten economic growth -- especially in the poorest countries, but everywhere aswell.""Despite the fact that it's controversial, we've got to tackle the issue of carbonpricing," Kim said.Lagarde said she was recommending for finance ministers to shift more of the taxburden onto carbon rather than focusing on taxing investments or workers.- Seeking to revive momentum Lagarde also renewed a call for an elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels, whichare sensitive in countries where consumers are accustomed to cheap energy.An IMF study last year found that energy subsidies around the world amounted to$1.9 trillion -- or eight percent of government revenues.Despite the warnings, momentum to reduce carbon emissions has slipped in recentyears. US President Barack Obama has focused on executive actions to fight climatechange after a proposal to restrict emissions died in the Senate in 2010 due to
strong opposition by lawmakers supportive of the oil and gas industry.Australia's new government, led by climate skeptic Prime Minister Tony Abbott, hasmoved to abolish a carbon tax and instead is seeking a plan that includes incentivesfor companies to increase energy efficiency.Rachel Kyte, the World Bank's vice president for sustainable development, said thatFriday's meeting aimed at encouraging countries to bring concrete ideas to Ban'sclimate summit in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.The September meeting in turn aims to lay the groundwork for a new climate treatyat UN-backed negotiations next year in Paris. A similarly high profile conference inCopenhagen in 2009 ended in widespread disappointment.The New York meeting is a chance "to demonstrate that there is momentum andthere is movement and there is a building sense of inevitability," Kyte told reporters.