Friday, February 14, 2014

Nick Stern: "Climate change is here now and it could lead to global conflict"

A Guardian piece by Nick Stern.

Climate change is here now and it could lead to global conflict [Guardian]

The record rainfall and storm surges that have brought flooding across the UK are a clear sign that we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change.

Many commentators have suggested that we are suffering from unprecedented extreme weather. There are powerful grounds for arguing that this is part of a trend.

Four of the five wettest years recorded in the UK have occurred from the year 2000 onwards. Over that same period, we have also had the seven warmest years.

That is not a coincidence. There is an increasing body of evidence that extreme daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense, in line with what is expected from fundamental physics, as the Met Office pointed out earlier this week.

Nick raises issues we discuss in this blog.  China is showing leadership because it realises it has to.  Only now will citizens in the UK realise we are not immune to the effects of climate change.

Fortunately poorer countries, such as China, are showing leadership and beginning to demonstrate to the world how to invest in low-carbon growth.
Nick Stern concludes that technology has an important role to play.  This is correct.  Implementing a price on greenhouse gases is far less likely especially  with the current obsession with "competitiveness" where anything "green" is seen as damaging to UK firms in the global economy.
A much more sensible way to raise money would be to implement a strong price on greenhouse gas pollution across the economy, which would also help to reduce emissions. It is essential that the government seizes this opportunity to foster the wave of low-carbon technological development and innovation that will drive economic growth and avoid the enormous risks of unmanaged climate change.

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