Don't believe the hype
1st October, 2008
The current economic downturn is hard, but it’s also filled with opportunities to remake the world in a more sustainable way, says Stephen Hale
The prospect of a global recession has given the opponents of environmental action a new lease of life. They claim, wrongly, that the downturn in the economy is a reason for politicians, business and the public to abandon the environment.
In fact, the downturn is a perfect opportunity for a radical transformation of energy, transport, housing and the economy.
The case for such a transformation has been building in recent years. Climate change and, to a lesser extent, other environmental issues, finally reached the top of the agenda in 2005, and they’ve been there ever since. Now it seems the media is tiring of it and wants to write a new story about the end of the ‘environment bubble’ – and the economic downturn has given it an excuse. Tellingly, the Guardian’s climate change summit in July was titled ‘Fighting climate change fatigue: how to keep stakeholders engaged’.
The media is currently peddling three dangerous myths. The first is that the downturn makes green choices unaffordable – but this downturn is partly driven by high oil (and gas) prices that now make some green alternatives such as energy efficiency, public transport and fuel efficiency much...
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