Greenery at the top, up to a point

Good to find Peter Mandelson highlighting climate change in a speech at the LSE yesterday. As minister for the Business and enterprise, his take is, perhaps inevitably geared to economic growth. Thus:

“The core challenge of climate change politics is getting people to connect their choices now with outcomes in the relatively distant future and in different parts of the world. It’s going to cost in the short term, there is no way around that.” (good start)

People often find the scale of the challenge overwhelming. So somehow we have to go from awareness to engagement, rather than awareness to resignation. (yes, true)

The only way to do this is to stress that at the levels of individual choices, business choices and national economic choices, the shift to low carbon offers economic opportunities as well as costs. (well, it would be a good way, if it could be done. But the only way? I wonder. Could we have a plan B in case that doesn’t work? )

Most of the things he goes on to say sound like moves in the right direction  – though they are mostly still pretty unspecific, despite the years which keep passing as government tries to formulate a climate and energy policy which might actually make a difference. But that premise does seem unduly constraining. And, even in its own terms, it kind of avoids the politics of sorting out the costs and benefits, and where they fall – whether within one country or globally…

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