Mr Stern now thinks that he understated the consequences of climate change when he wrote his report. He also thinks that the government should engage the private sector in developing economic growth without increasing emissions. I cannot disagree but is not that what the government has been pretending to do for the past four years?
The logical starting point would be to develop two sectors of the economy which create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One sector is the home insulation sector, where by a judicious use of subsidy and a change in laws we could be employing people to ensure that folk do not waste their money and fossil fuel by heating up the airspace above their roofs and outside their walls. the second sector is the solar water heating sector where a small area of a roof could be devoted into using light to heat water, instead of fossil fuel. Again, some small subsidy and a change in law could have brought lots of green growth.
However the government has managed to create a situation where these sectors have faced the worst of all worlds; changes and incentives were promised as long ago as 2008, whch have been postponed to “next year” for the past four years. As a result there has been contraction in both the home insulation industry and the solar water heating industry, which has been decimated by the lack of a green growth and a green jobs policy. The green economy has shrunk so much that it is hardly visible.
I hope that Mr Stern is wrong about having understated the pace and consequences of climate change; I expect he thought after he published his report that some notice would be taken of it. As I reported at the time it would probably be consigned to gather dust on a shelf; that very British technique of praising something ennobling its author (or one of its authors) and then ignoring it to enable the vested economic interests to prevail over the interests of the people seems to work every time.
But economic interests do not exist in a vacuum no doubt the home insulation economy and the solar water heating economy will only stop shrinking and start growing when the multinationals persuade the government to incentivise these industries. We shall see.
Filed under: carbon emissions, climate change, energy, global warming, solar, solar energy, solar panels Tagged: | climate, environment, greenhouse gas emissions, home insulation, insulation, insulation industry, solar water heating