Nicolas Stern, whose 2006 climate change report for the British government was instrumental in convincing sceptical politicians of the evidence for and risks of climate change, has said he was mistaken. Reporting an interview given in the Swiss resort, the Guardian headlines:
Nicholas Stern: ‘I got it wrong on climate change – it’s far, far worse’
Rather than the 2-3 degree warming he then expected (with a probabilty of 75%), he now reckons were are on track for a 4 degree increase. The planet risks becoming uninhabitable. Soon.
This makes it all the more perverse that we are suffering mass unemployment while the government – in most countries and in the EU as a whole – can borow at negative interest rates. The situation is crying out for a deficit-financed, investment-led green new deal. There is so much low hanging fruit – building insulation is the classic example – where there is no trade-off between economic, employment and ecological necessities. Instead we have rolling austerity and, at the same time, a race to open up fracking sites in the name of job creation.
Then we need to think about reducing working time in a socially just way, in order to increase quality of life and make full employment, decent living standards and planetary survival compatible.