In all the TV and press coverage given to the Stern report there was one quote that stood out above all others that seemed to be the most telling.
We are sure, the Brits have got the message by now. Climate change is a serious issue, and headlines comparing the impact of global warming with the effect of a world war are very powerful.
Still there is not much understanding of the fact that taxes must rise so that the price reflects the true cost of production, and to make greener alternatives more palatable. But even in this respect, there seems to a growing feeling that we have all got to pay somehow to save the planet Most were grudgingly admitting that tax is an obvious solution.
But the quote we saw, which, to our way of thinking, is the most alarming was published in the FT. And it’s not so much what was said but rather what was not said that should be ringing alarm bells. It quoted Kristen Hellmer, spokeswoman at the Council on Environmental Quality, which advises the White House as saying: “The president has long recognised that climate change is a serious issue, and he has committed the US to advancing and investing in new technologies to help address this problem. The US government has produced an abundance of economic analysis on the issue of climate change. The Stern report is another contribution to that effort.” And that was it. The mighty FT could apparantly find no other quote from anyone more senior.
And while we are still with the US, we could find no reference to the Stern report on the CNNMoney, or CBS market watch, or Business Week sites – (the three US web sites we monitor most closely).
The Voice of America publication published the news of the report all right, but its headline read: “Environmental Skeptic Questions British Climate Report”
The most famous sceptic on global warming is Danish scientist, Bjorn Lomborg, He was quoted in Voice of America as saying: “The main issue here is not to say that climate change is not an important issue, and that it will have serious consequences, but the question is to ask, with limited resources, where can you do the most good. If you invest in climate change policies, you will help especially third world countries a hundred years from now, but if you invest in some of the other things, you will help people right now.”
We are not saying that the sceptics such as Lomborg should not have their views aired. Rather, it’s the emphasis that is placed on them which is worrying. When high profile publications lead with this story, over the conclusions of the Stern report, then it suggests that there is still a desire in the US to bury its head in the sand.
Still, at least if the US does choose to ignore reports like this, there will be plenty more sand for it to bury its head in, during the years to come.
© Investment & Business News 2013