Sunday, November 05, 2006


The Stern Report

Sir Nicholas Stern, a former chief economist at the World Bank has released his report on climate change this week and it bears no surprises but carries massive weight that we are at a crossroads, teetering on the brink of no return. The time for action is now otherwise we will suffer the consequences. We all knew that anyway but maybe the "people that count" will start to notice because an economist and not an environmentalist has put concrete figures about how the changes affect economies.
We have the expected nightmarish vision of displaced populations in this report but he's got out his calculator and worked out how this will affect our economies (and personal wealth). Mortage repayments will suddenly become irrelevant when what used to be your home is under 7 feet of water.
Here are some stats for you:
Inaction will cost a permanent loss of 20% of global output (£3.68 trillion)
To act now will cost us £184 billion per year. This is 1% of world GDP
The level in the atmosphere of CO2 before the Industrial Revolution stood at 280 parts per million. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere today stands at 382 ppm.
200 million people are at risk of being driven from their homes by flood or drought by 2050
World temperatures are likely to rise by 2C by 2050 or sooner, and could rise by 5C
4 billion people could suffer from water shortage if temperatures rise by 2C
A temperature rise of 2C would threaten 40% of species with extinction
35,000 Europeans died in the 2003 heatwave, an event likely to become commonplace

"Another absolutely vital conclusion is that dealing with climate change, even though very costly, need not derail worldwide economic growth. The report stresses that the two are compatible...
out goes the sackcloth and ashes, in comes having your cake and eating it (as long as you take the problem seriously now)"
Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor, The Independent

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