Monday, June 04, 2007

Economist on Climate Change

Press release from the Economist dated 31st May. An interesting piece and useful to contrast the view that "business caused climate change and can also solve it" with the previous article on China.

As White House unveils climate strategy, The Economist argues that, given incentives, business can solve climate change

As the White House unveiled a long-term strategy on climate change Thursday, The Economist unveiled a special report on the subject that will appear in tomorrow's issue. Written by Deputy Editor Emma Duncan, the report argues that business’s conversion to combatting climate change is real and substantial. It is bringing forth serious investment in the technologies needed to produce clean energy. That is a big change, and a reason for optimism. However, the investment is not yet on a scale large enough to avert climate change.

But, The Economist notes, the world cannot expect business to combat climate change by itself. It needs the right incentives. Consumers won’t provide them: governments must. They have to make polluters pay for the damage caused by the carbon dioxide they produce. And they have to do so globally—which is why next month’s G8 summit is so crucial to this issue.

It can be done. The technologies are available. And the costs of bringing them to market and thus stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations at a safe level look reasonable. Doing so would probably mean cutting global growth by 0.1% a year. Given the risks, it’s worth it.

Duncan concludes, “Business caused the problem of climate change, and business can solve it. But it can do so only if governments put the right incentives in place. This is up to the politicians, and the people who vote them into power.”

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