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7 December 2009updated 27 Sep 2015 2:28am

Preventing climate crisis

An admirable move by the Guardian and 55 other papers

By George Eaton

Full credit to the Guardian and 55 other newspapers across the world who have taken the innovative step today of publishing a front-page leader article calling for emergency action to tackle the looming climate crisis:

The key insight of the Stern report, that the cost of not acting is greater than the cost of acting, is absorbed:

The transformation will be costly, but many times less than the bill for bailing out global finance — and far less costly than the consequences of doing nothing.

It’s one the government lamentably tore up when it approved a third runway for Heathrow based on crude short-term economic judgements.

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Here’s a key section on the personal implications of reform:

Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close. We will have to shop, eat and travel more intelligently. We will have to pay more for our energy, and use less of it.

But the shift to a low-carbon society holds out the prospect of more opportunity than sacrifice. Already some countries have recognized that embracing the transformation can bring growth, jobs and better quality lives. The flow of capital tells its own story: last year for the first time more was invested in renewable forms of energy than producing electricity from fossil fuels.

One point that isn’t made enough is that much of what we’re doing to tackle climate chaos we need to do anyway, to become more energy efficient and to prepare for the coming oil crisis.

I only differ on the leader’s persistent use of ‘climate change’, a euphemism coined by the Republican pollster Frank Luntz, when he discovered that focus groups were scared by the term ‘global warming’. ‘Change’ is all too passive and feeble a term to refer to the planetary emergency we face. In an act of consciousness raising we should refer to ‘climate chaos’ or ‘climate crisis’.

 

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