Stern Review reveals cost of climate change

October 30, 2006

The Stern report, written by UK economist Sir Nicholas Stern for the British Government,  and released this week, says drought and floods could render large areas of the planet uninhabitable, turning 200 million people into refugees. This would form the largest migration in human history.

The report says if countries do not act now the world will face a depression worse than that of the 1930s.

It puts the global cost of global warming and its effects at $A9 trillion -  greater than the combined cost of the two world wars and the Great Depression. It represents a fifth of the global economy.

“In recent months we have witnessed a remarkable shift in attitudes on the question of global warming” says Cam Walker, national liaison officer for Friends of the Earth Australia. “This report affirms yet again that early action is needed if we are to head off the worst impacts of global warming”.

The report calls for urgent global action, with nations needing to spend 1 per cent of global GDP, roughly what is spent worldwide on advertising, to deal with the problems associated with climate change. If not, the world will face a bill 20 times as big, as well as environmental and social turmoil.

“Yet again, we are hearing of the need to take dramatic action through cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The Howard government has finally started to make climate change a priority, and hopefully this report, from a former World Bank economist, will lead to further concrete action. In particular, Australia must commit to living within an agreed carbon budget which would provide us with access to a fair share of the global atmosphere. At present we greatly over consume resources and, on a per capita basis, are one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters on the planet. The Australian Government must listen to the findings of this report and recognise that it has a major job to do in factoring the climate into its management of the economy. That is why we need national legislation (a climate bill) to ensure that cutting carbon dioxide is a priority across all parts of government.

“Australia, as a major greenhouse gas emitter must also recognise climate refugees, those people displaced by global warming through establishing a new climate refugee intake program. We must greatly increase the funding we provide affected nations through our foreign aid (ODA) program and ensure this funding helps build adaptation within affected communities”.

Friends of the Earth hopes the findings of the report will give added impetus to the UN international climate talks scheduled to start in Nairobi, Kenya, next week (6 November).

Comment:

Cam Walker (Melbourne) 0419 338 047

Emma Brindal (Brisbane) 0411 084 727

FoE Australia climate campaigner Stephanie Long will be in Nairobi next week as part of the FoE International team. She can be contacted via stephanie.long@foe.org.au or 0414 136 461