Adding climate change into the economic forecasts

November 3, 2008 at 1:36 am | Posted in Climate and economy | Leave a comment
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Once again it’s been a week of numbers.  The Dow Jones stock index rallied 11.3 percent over the last week, along with other stock measures around the world.  The Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan cut interest rates to grease lending and spending.  Consumer spending declined in the U.S. for the first time in 17 years, and a bailout’s now being considered for Detroit’s Big Three automakers. 

Courtesy of thisbluedot.net.

Courtesy of thisbluedot.net.

Despite – and perhaps because of – the maelstrom of mostly dark economic news over the last few weeks, there is now more and more talk about how dealing with climate change should figure into economic planning. 

On Monday former World Bank economist Nicholas Stern issued a warning that ignoring the risks posed by climate change could result in far greater consequences than ignoring risks in the financial system. 

Stern is famous for a 700-page economic report he released in 2006, which claimed inaction on climate change could result in disasters on the scale of the Great Depression or World Wars I and II. 

According to Reuters:

As countries around the world move from deploying monetary and financial stabilization measures, to boosting fiscal spending to mend real economies, Stern said the opportunity was there to bring about a new, greener, carbon-reducing world order.

“The lesson that we can draw out from this recession, is that you can boost demand in the best way possible by focusing on low carbon growth in future.”

Stern, who has estimated it would cost 2 percent of GDP to tackle climate change, spoke at a conference in Hong Kong. 

Courtesy of Oxfam International.

Courtesy of Oxfam International.

Today United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon also added his voice to calls for action despite the global economic crisis.  During a visit to Bangladesh, which is extremely vulnerable to sea level rise and an increase in extreme weather events, Ban said:

“The leaders of the developed countries should not neglect the issue of global warming. A one-metre rise in sea levels would displace 30 million Bangladeshis and deal a catastrophic blow to economic growth and development.” (Reuters)

Meanwhile, according to a new survey, 63 percent of Americans think that addressing climate change will actually benefit the economy.  The survey was released by The Climate Group, a London-based non-profit working to create a coalition of governments and businesses committed to forging a path to a low-carbon future.  

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