Reading the British papers today there is a general consensus that the Stern review has changed the political landscape over climate change. Those who have long argued for inaction have finally run out of excuses. The debate about climate change is over. Now is the time for action.
According to the Independent “what Sir Nicholas Stern has done with his report on the economics of climate change is remarkable: he has ripped up the last excuse for inaction.”
The Guardian echoes this: “The argument is now over … The overwhelming message of yesterday’s much-leaked Stern review on the economics of climate change is that it is now time to move on from arguing about statistics to taking drastic action at an international level”.
The Times is remarkably similar: “The science debate is effectively over. The Stern review means that the economic debate is all but over. Only the political debate is left”.
Whilst the political debate in Britain is raging, there has been largely silence from the White House. Even in this last bastion of climate change skepticism, life may change forever after the November elections. With a Democratic majority, even the US could start to act. The times really could be a changing. About time too..
There are good economic reasons for the UK to be very concerned about climate change, around 1m Londoners live less that 2m above the current, high watermark of the River Thames. (And so does a good chunk of the financial district.)
That aside, the many in the UK are concerned about the impact that we are having on the environment. But that impact is not restricted to fossil fuels, although that is the most clear and present danger. There could be considerable impacts on the planet if we charge headlong into biofuels in areas where resources such as water or food supplies are limited. The dust bowl, desertification of the Mid west was caused when a key aquifer could not support the demands placed on it, and there could be a danger of this happening again if biofuels from wheat or cattle waste is pushed too hard in the US. http://www.icis.com/blogs/biofuels/archives/2006/10/water-and-biofuels.html#more
But this could be a short term problem if we can get people to understand the impact that their way of life has and start acting accordingly.
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