Making preservation pay
18th January, 2007
The market can solve climate change and tackle world debt if we start to sell emissions right
There should be no underestimating the importance of Nicholas Stern’s review of the economics of climate change. Let me restate here what I see as his core finding: ‘Mitigation – taking strong action to reduce emissions – must be viewed as an investment, a cost incurred now and in the coming few decades to avoid the risks of very severe consequences in the future. If these investments are made wisely, the costs will be manageable, and there will be a wide range of opportunities for growth and development along the way … Costs of mitigation of around one per cent of GDP are small, relative to the costs and risks of climate change that will be avoided.’
In a few short sentences, Stern demolishes the arguments of quasi-economists such as Bjorn Lomborg, with their elaborately fraudulent arguments for inaction. And his message is one that governments cannot ignore – neither the British government, nor indeed other governments for which his economic calculus applies with equal force. In a nutshell, action to deal with the causes of climate change is affordable, far cheaper than the cost of inaction, and will bring many benefits along the way.
There are weaknesses in...
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