Monday, October 30, 2006
Politics versus economics: The Stern Review
Today marks a definite political shift towards a higher (and slightly greener) gear. First we had the leaked letter from David Miliband suggesting implementation of green taxes (which has not resulted in the public backlash that the government feared) and today the Stern Report is to be published. Sir Nicolas Stern's Review of Climate Change is the first full economic report analysing the financial impact of climate change, and its conclusions give intellectual clout that the government must now give good leadership. It will cost us up to 20 times more if we fail to act. Stern argues in his 700-page report that failure to act now will cause huge economic upheaval and depression, on the scale of which will result to the equivalent of the economic destruction of the two world wars. This is probably the most authoritative economic analysis of the impact of climate change on the global economy; creation of a carbon market, green legislation and green taxes are at the heart of his recommendations.
The lumbering beast of whitehall is finally waking up. Al Gore, on the back of his hugely successful film An Inconvenient Truth presenting the scientific evidence of climate change, is to be brought in as a Government advisor. It now looks increasingly likely that a Climate Change Bill will be included in the Queen's Speech. The question remains however, will our government rise to the challenge and demonstrate world leadership to influence international (namely Chinese and American) policy? Time to act for the benefit of the new world is now.
[Photo credit: M Fearn]