There have been plenty of reports about the damage that Climate Change will cause, but few have put a price on the damage in the way yesterday’s Stern Report did (article from The Guardian here). The Government’s response has been to propose to legislate for a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and to talk about trying to negotiate a new climate change settlement in the G8. Yet having seen how hard it was to make any headway at Gleneagles last year, don’t hold your breath on that one. Further, the statements yesterday made little reference to what the EU should be doing on this.
In reponse to all the activity yesterday, George Monbiot has written this column in today’s Guardian which contains his plans to deal with the issue – a 90% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. It sets out a 10 point plan of the changes that would be needed, including very radical steps on everything – shopping, transport, building regulations. It’s well worth a read as it strikes a very different note to Monbiot’s normal abrasive style.
Lastly, when reflecting on this, the sheer scale of the tasks that need to be carried out strikes me that dealing seriously with climate change very much marks the return of politics. Listening to Blair and others in the government over the last few years sounds like the government just equipping citizens to enable them to play their role in the global market. The only logical conclusion from the Stern report is that governments must radically shape the market, and not vice-versa.
[Update – 1.11.06]
Seems I was a bit wrong about the EU component of all of this. Ed Balls has been speaking of how the EU needs to do more on issues of the environment and climate change – see this article from The Guardian. Yet this is not the first time that Balls has sounded more positive than the Chancellor – are they playing good cop, bad cop, or is it that Balls actually believes in the EU more than Brown does?