Nicholas Stern - panning Kingsnorth, Heathrow and now the budget?
CC Thiago Karrapatoso
I never thought I'd feel particularly warmly towards an
economist. But then, Lord Stern of Brentford (as he's known to his friends), has
a special place in the hearts of many climate change policy wonks.
He's responsible for the Stern report - an attempt, back
in 2006, to figure out exactly what tackling climate change would cost. The full
report ran to 700 pages, but the top line was this: 1% of global GDP a year would hold greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to 550 ppmv, 3% of global GDP would hold it to 450 ppmv - gettting closer to limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees. But if we don't start spend that now, climate change
will end up costing us 20% of global GDP. In other words, make significant but
realistic investment now (the global military budget is about 2.5% of GDP, after
all), or destabilise the climate and break the economy permanently. He basically took the
environmental debate around addressing climate change and put it into the
language of economics.