Feeble Gordon, as he is now known, has fumbled again. UK Chancellor Gorodon Brown not only missed a trick by not acting on the most authoritative report on the economic impacts of climate change in his pre-budget report, but now he has lost the author of the report itself.

With embarrassing timing, Sir Nicholas Stern’s departure from the UK Treasury Department was announced a day after the Chancellor’s pathetic Pre-Budget Report. Stern was one of the Chancellor’s most senior officials as Second Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, is to leave having been frozen out of Brown’s inner circle.

In the pre-budget report, Brown’s move to raise taxes on flights and motorists’ fuel were seen as “minimum concessions” for tougher calls for action on climate change. One well-placed source even told The Times newspaper that Brown had to be persuaded within the Treasury even to take the steps he did, such was his lack of enthusiasm for green taxes.