It's the Environment, Stupid.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Over reaction or inadequate action?

Well, if Al Gore didn't scare and overwhelm you with his power point presentation of the cold, hard climate change facts, here's further predictions that should really get you worried. From the British publication The Observer comes, "£3.68 trillion: The price of failing to act on climate change."

The Observer article sums up a new report on climate change by Sir Nicholas Stern, commissioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that evaluates the economic consequences for (insert your favourite climate change doomsday scenario here).

"Stern also warns that a successor to the Kyoto agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions should be signed next year, not by 2010/11 as planned. He forecasts that the world needs to spend 1 per cent of global GDP - equivalent to about £184bn - dealing with climate change now, or face a bill between five and 20 times higher for damage caused by letting it continue. Unchecked climate change could thus cost as much as £566 for every man, woman and child now on the planet - roughly 6.5 billion people." Additionally, The Observer also says the report proposes implementing a 'green tax' to, in part, help pay for early compliance of necessary emission reduction measures.

I think green taxes are a great idea and should be considered by all governments around the world - either that or prices of goods should be altered to incorporate environmental costs. But of course this will never happen in today's global marketplace (nor is it feasible for immediate implementation without collapsing a few national economies and plunging a few million more people into poverty). And I seriously doubt Kyoto will be discussed any earlier than 2010 (anybody want to place wagers on that one?)

However, I am very glad to see that a 700 page, OFFICIAL report has been issued on this topic (haven't had a chance to check it out myself just yet), and that it got coverage in a mainstream media outlet.

But I'm wondering whether this scare-tactic-doomsayer approach is very effective in getting people/governments/businesses to act - a criticism which is not new within the climate change dialogue. While we can't just start handing out rose-colored glasses to everyone and pretend our global environment isn't changing, I just hope there is some way to spur people into action soon before we are forced to re-act.

(some of my previous blogging on the whole act/re-act/adapt stuff can be found here, here, here, and here.)


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