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]


steve said...

Hi Polly, - saw a link to your blog in the Grauniad... yes well today felt like a highly significant day for me and I really welcome that they are at last gearing up bureaucracy and the machine of state to better respond. . I have been watching this debate very closely for longer than I care to remember and remain pretty incredulous as to how long it has taken the mainstream to pick up on this. I am interested to see your blog and will check out your links later... I worked for a long time at the Centre for Alternative Technology here in Wales as well as for the permaculture movement for a long while and am now developing urban sustainable gardens for schools.. as well as living in a housing co-op and farm with a very strong eco ethic, so I am pretty engaged in this process of making this step change to a low impact socially responsible lifestyles.. I am actually pretty positive I think people just don't realise how many positives there are to having this kind of lifestyle and what significant inroads we can make just by being more efficient and strategic about how we do things. I do have a personal criticism of the whole 'green' movement as such as it is that they can be both a pretty miserable and sanctimonious lot at the best of times.. doesn't make a lot of people want to sign up - so I think what you are doing is great and I wish you well with it. Sorry, this is your blog I shall shut now.. but keep up the work! its all good stuff..

The Lazy Environmentalist said...

Thanks Steve, so glad to hear of like minds and to hear what people are up to out there. I too am an ardent supporter of CAT and spent a wonderful weekend there some months ago. Yes, it's time to look to the positives. Thanks for the support and keep in touch.