Government policies on climate change do not go far enough or fast
enough, just as past 'actions' have
been insufficient, slow or non-existent. UK carbon emissions are 2% higher
now than when Tony Blair came to power in 1997 (Govt's own figures!), despite the apparent
Successive govts have neglected real action on climate, and now
look where we are, with the Stern Report stating with authority that
climate change could cost trillions of pounds. The upward carbon pollution
trend needs to peak within ten to fifteen years if we are to keep temperature
rise to 2 degrees in the next 50 or 100 years, according to the climate
Taking action in the early 80's or 90's when Greens (including me) were calling for it
would have been both easier and cheaper than it now will be, though acting
now is much cheaper and easier than taking no
action and suffering even more climate change! The chances of success for
any action on climate would also have been higher if we had acted earlier.
The Stern Report has underestimated the extent of economic change needed
to really tackle climate change. We are a factor of ten away from being
sustainable in resource and energy terms and need to establish a new
approach to socio-economics which seems to me to say that we need to gear
much more than 1% of GDP to the task!
Action needs to range across all areas involving the consumption of fossil
fuels at some point in the chain of economic events - these days this
means.....just about everything! Globalisation of trade is of course
rapidly raising carbon emissions levels....Also whilst the Stern Report's
primary focus is the economic impacts of climate change - I think it is
worth remembering the huge social and environmental impacts indicated in his report too! Frankly
its not so much the cost of climate change as the impacts on people and
the natural world that have always concerned me, though you cant of course
separate these off from economics as they are interdependent.
Without an economy which is reconciled with the environment we wont and
cant tackle climate change effectively. Stern and the Government are wrong
if they are saying that we can grow as in the past, but just pay a climate
change bill and carry on.