Sir Nicholas Stern: "You can be green and still grow"

Written by  //  February 20, 2007  //  Climate Change, Economy, Environment & Energy  //  No comments

Economist says you can be green and still grow
Much cheaper to act on climate change than to ignore it, business leaders told
MIKE DE SOUZA, CanWest News Service
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern yesterday poured cold water on the Harper government’s recent suggestions that aggressive action to fight global warming would cause an economic collapse.
In his first visit to Canada since publishing a 700-page report that made international headlines last fall with its warnings the world could face an economic catastrophe similar to the Great Depression by ignoring the threat of climate change, Stern spoke to the Economic Club of Toronto . “You can be absurd and reject the science; you can be reckless and say we can adapt to whatever happens; or you can be unethical and disregard the future, simply because it’s in the future.”
Stern has calculated, in his economic report commissioned by the British government, that the costs of taking action are five to 20 times less than the cost of doing nothing to fight climate change.
“Canada (has a) history as a nation which has real skills in natural resources development, or great skills in agriculture. I think that, as well, the cost (is) the kind that you can absorb and continue to grow,” Stern said.
The remarks earned praise from Clive Mather, president and CEO of Shell Canada, which co-sponsored the event. “Growth is for sure,” said Mather, who has supported the international Kyoto Protocol on climate change. “The issue is: On what basis do we grow. Do we grow low-carbon, or do we carry on as usual? And I think, as Nick Stern (explained), carrying on as usual carries enormous risks.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Environment Minister John Baird have insisted the government takes the threat of climate change seriously, and they are determined to act, but they have repeatedly warned that meeting Canada’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, as required under the Kyoto Protocol, would devastate the economy.
… Stern insisted he wasn’t trying to lecture either the Liberals or the Conservatives about the issue. “I’m not here to speak to any particular individual. I’m here to share ideas with Canadians, and the key message that was very influential, I think, in the way that Europe is moving forward,” Stern told reporters yesterday at the Toronto Stock Exchange during a joint news conference with Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki. “It’s very clear to me now that you can be green and grow.”

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