Monday, October 30, 2006

Stern Measures

Surely something to celebrate

I warn you not to own a gas guzzler, or go on cheap holiday flights, or leave your TV on standby. Because you guys are about to be taxed to buggery and back (obviously subject to certain important exceptions such as my own 5.5 litre Mercedes S Class- provided under the government's Motobility scheme on account of my extreme sensitivity to noise and bumpy car rides).

And the rest of us will be cheering all the way. For as we all know, you're single-handedly responsible for DESTROYING THE ENTIRE PLANET!!

Even worse, it now turns out your carbon habit threatens another economic collapse like the Great Crash: all weekend the BBC has been pushing a definitive report by the world's foremost economist which tells us the costs of ignoring climate change amount to £3.68 trillion!

Not £3.66 trn, or even £3.67 trn, but £3.68!!!! And this is not just more eco-wibble about floods somewhere we've never heard of- this is cold hard cash.

The BBC has been spreading the news all weekend. THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE. There is total political consensus that crushing tax rises are essential to ward off a substantial cut in living standards. How deliciously ironic- all those evil capitalists must now take climate change seriously or they will get poorer!

Slightly surprising then, that the great man himself -Nick Stern, ex-Chief Economist at the World Bank- should back-pedal so furiously when given an open platform on R4 Today this morning. Instead of elaborating on his dire cost forecasts, he mainly wanted to talk about how respected eco-profs were predicting dire consequences for the weather.

Er, yes.... let's think...
  • Only selected lib journos have so far seen the report... for the rest of us, this is all pre-publicity, sight unseen
  • All economic forecasts are pretty shakey... fifty year forecasts are virtually useless
  • Stern seems to have taken the most extreme climate change predictions, and multiplied by 2 or 3
  • The linkages between climate change and economic growth are virtually unknown- but it's easy to see how some climate change could help us, particularly in the UK (have you tried Nyetimber?)

I think we're going to need the outsized salt shovel for this one. Oh, and privatise the BBC.

PS Here's some health advice: as you stump up for those new eco-taxes, try to avoid a seizure by imagining you really are saving the planet. You aren't of course. Britain generates only 2% of world carbon emissions, and China's growth adds that much in approximately.... ohh, I don't know.... let's say 6 minutes. But at least you'll be giving our politicos more to spend on Big Government.

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