A few weeks ago or so a colleague remarked that the Right had won most of the big arguments over the last few decades or so over the Left. Hah, I scoffed, Capitalism may have prevailed over Communism but on social issues it is the Left that continues to reign supreme.
Consider climate change. Long ignored by those on the right of the political spectrum this issue has finally, and I would would say it is bloody long overdue, become a mainstream issue.
On BBC News today:
Climate change could cut global growth by a fifth, costing up to Â£3.68 trillion in total, unless drastic action is taken, a review is to warn.
But taking action now would cost just 1% of global gross domestic product, economist Sir Nicholas Stern says. Without action up to 200 million people could become refugees as their homes are hit by drought or flood, he adds.
The dismal science is not really known for accurate predictions of course but the fact that major economists are weighing in this debate should be welcomed. Providing they agree with environmental campaigners (me, biased?). But identifying the problem is only half the issue; now we have to figure out a course of action. And given this government’s terrible record at managing anything, this is a serious consideration.
While it is impossible to say anything meaningful on this subject in a quick blog, I would make a quick point that this is an issue where I definitely want much more government intervention in the form of industry regulation, subsidy of pro-environmentally household applications and investment in renewable energy sources. Market intervention in the form of carbon trading and carbon off-setting has its place but I fear time is running out too fast.
Update: The excellent George Monbiot has ten tips to save the planet.
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Filed in: Environmentalism