Thursday, April 20, 2006

"The environment must be the centre of policy worldwide"

So says Gordon Brown, the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer, in an editorial in the Independent today.

Brown says that the UK will be setting out international climate change proposals at the UN, G7, IMF and World Bank forums coming days:
So today at the UN in New York, Britain will call for the first global emissions trading scheme to cut carbon emissions. Tomorrow at the G7 meeting in Washington I will tell the world's richest countries that Britain will invest in a private- public institute for new research into alternative sources of energy and new environmental technologies - and ask other countries to join us in a lobal network researching into better uses of energy.

I think it's quite remarkable for a nation's leader on economic policy to be placing the environment squarely in the centre of economic policy:
For too long too many governments thought their objectives began and ended with economic prosperity and jobs. But I believe that the world needs a new paradigm that moves the environmental challenge to the centre of policy...

We can and should demonstrate that economic growth, social justice and evironmental care can and must advance together. For years no international consensus has been possible that recognises how our global duty of stewardship to the environment can be discharged while delivering economic and social progress.

But I believe that global economic goals and global environmental goals are converging and can reinforce each other and that the basis for a new global consensus which all countries should be challenged to join lies in new detailed and substantive policies.

Brown sets out four environmental / economic linkages:
First, higher energy prices will and must now encourage the development of new cleaner sources of energy...

Second, we can now demonstrate that scientific advance can bring forward new environmentally friendly technologies that can provide jobs as well as wealth for the future...

We can also show that new market-led mechanisms such as carbon trading can change the behaviour of companies and communities...

And we must demonstrate the benefit of public investment in the environment.

It will be interesting to see what the UK proposes over the next few days and whether this bold rhetoric is matched by some real action.

1 comment:

Amy Stodghill said...

Those are some bold statements - would love to see them followed up with real action - that's a bandwagon I'd love to jump on.