Monday, 16 March 2009

Copenhagen CC Summit 2009 - Who will bail out the planet?

In terms of commitments to green investment, Britain now lags well behind the US. There is a commonly held view in Westminster that, while voters profess to care about the environment, those concerns are trumped by fears over the economy, crime and immigration. That is true up to a point. But as the 2006 Stern report identified, the disastrous consequences of inaction on climate change vastly outweigh the cost of action. Any long-term policy for the economy, or for that matter on crime and migration, will have to take notice of the environment too.
But policy-making for the long term has fallen out of fashion. In fact, many of us fell out of the habit of long-term thinking during the heady consumer boom. That must now change.
The financial crisis has shattered the free-market orthodoxy that drove policy for a generation. We can now develop a new political philosophy, one that has the principles of environmental sustainability at its core - that presents the threat of climate change not as inevitable apocalypse, but as an opportunity.

There is an antidote to climate defeatism: it is the knowledge that the actions we take now to lead a greener life could boost employment and develop an economy less dependent on wasteful financial services; improve national security by making us less dependent on fossil fuels; and deliver us a better, healthier, happier lifestyle. It so happens they will also preserve the planet for future generations.