Thursday, November 09, 2006

the economist on the Stern report

The Economist is not usually a place to find supportive words on green issues. When I read it I mainly do so for their international news. But, in Stern Warning in their Nov. 4th issue they actually come out in support of the Nicholas Stern report which basically argues that the economic impact of climate change will be astronomical, and that it will be far better in the long run to spend the money to avert climate change now, than to risk the economic disaster that climate change will bring in the future.

"Sir Nicholas may well err on the gloomy side. And it is certainly impossible to predict precisely what effect climate change will have had on the world economy in a century's time. But neither point invalidates Sir Nicholas's central perception - that governments should act not on the basis of the likeliest outcome from climate change, but on the risk of something really catastrophic (such as the melting of Greenland's ice sheet, which would raise sea levels by six to seven metres).

Just as people spend a small slice of their incomes on buying insurance on the off-chance that their house might burn down, and nations use a slice of taxpayers' money to pay for standing armies just in case a rival power might try to invade them, so the world should invest a small proportion of its resources in trying to avert the risk of boiling the planet. The costs are not huge. The dangers are"

Sounds simple, n'est ce pas? However in Canada we have Martin and Ambrose running the show, and they probably agree more with sentiments like this from Ralph Klein:
Klein also questioned the need for a carbon trading exchange and said it’s time Canada dumped the Kyoto accord and worked on a plan that is doable.
“Our answer to Kyoto is forget Kyoto, forget the protocol and do what is reasonable, understanding that we’re a carbon-based economy.”


P.S. - for the petition, I'm hoping to do up the 2nd draft over the weekend, focusing more on "legitimizing and promoting" cycling in Canada through measures such as a tax credit or an employer/employee purchase of bikes and gear such as the British Cycle to Work plan.

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