Some say that for a matter to rise to a CEO’s attention, it has to have enough zeros at the back of it — that is, enough money has to be at stake to command the attention of a very busy and very focused person (focused, one would hope, on the big picture and the long term). As the late Senator Everett Dirksen reportedly said, ‘A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.’
Well, the prospect of climate change (can we call it ‘climate crisis’ yet?) taking 20% of the global economy might finally be enough to get some serious attention — even in the back rooms of the White House. At a prevention cost of an estimated one percent of economic product, that’s a hard deal to turn down.
The Stern Review on the economics of climate change commissioned, and just released, by the UK government is perhaps the most comprehensive, and authoritative analysis yet of the economic impacts of climate change. Its conclusions are stark:
There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we take strong action now.
The scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change is a serious global threat, and it demands an urgent global response.
This Review has assessed a wide range of evidence on the impacts of climate change and on the economic costs, and has used a number of different techniques to assess costs and risks. From all of these perspectives, the evidence gathered by the Review leads to a simple conclusion: the benefits of strong and early action far outweigh the economic costs of not acting.
Alan AtKisson offers a long analysis at WorldChanging. I’ll have my own to offer in coming days.