Here’s 27 of the most lucid commentary on climate change you’ll hear anywhere and it is tailored to a Canadian audience.
Sir Nicholas Stern has been a powerful agent of change. He was one of the first establishment figures to dare to cite market failure as the cause of the problem; and now he is rightly explaining why the developing world has to shoulder responsibility for solving it. Here's the link. A summary follows
Addressing Climate Change will enable us to addresses Global Poverty
He makes the linkage between climate change and world poverty stating that the two issues represent humanity’s greatest threat. Failure to manage climate change will worsen poverty but if we try to manage the environmental problem by blocking growth we’ll never get the coalition we need. He sees the transition to low carbon economies as offering the best opportunity for economic growth available today and the recession as the best time for making the investments necessary.
Putting a price on carbon will not be enough, however. Where governments raise more money from taxation (eg British Columbia’s carbon taxes), going “revenue neutral” is to miss the opportunity to hasten a transition that can only generate more prosperity and security for a community in the longer run. (Note in the UK our enlightened government is using the extra revenue from Air Passenger Duty to continue to bail out the banks! - my comment, not Stern's)
The Scale of the Challenge
Finally, here’s someone able to explain the scale of the problem in a language that makes sense. Instead of percentages, he talks real numbers. Today’s reality is that we generate 50 gigatons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) each year. To avoid catastrophe we have to reduce that to 20 gigatons, equivalent to a global average of 2 tonnes per person. Bear in mind that the rich countries like Canada are averaging 20 tonnes per person and you can see the challenge.
But Stern also points out that the low carbon future can be so much better than the one we have now. The act of getting from here to there can generate jobs and profit but it will take leadership and political will…
Finally, Stern has a stark warning for Canada, a country, he believes could be leading the way on international development, forestry, car technology and renewable energy. But if Canada continues to plead for special favours – suggesting the transtion can’t be done, or it will cost too much and suggest that developing countries should do more, then, as one of the world’s richest nations it will lose trade, credibility, prestige and reputation and its politicians will be perceived as failing the electorate.
Stern but also inspiring stuff indeed!