British Government Says Climate Change is Threatening Growth

AEN News

London - A report prepared for the British government says that climate change is affecting world growth and that if measures aren't taken to curb it climate change will reduce the world economy 20 per cent within decades unless immediate action is taken.

Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist at the World Bank said it would take an amount equal to 1 per cent of gross domestic production worldwide to curb climate change.

The costs to combat climate change are estimated at 3.68 trillion pounds (6.95 trillion dollars) by 2050, which is equivalent to 20 per cent of the world's wealth.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Stern's report, if accurate, was "overwhelming and in its consequences disastrous."

"It is not in doubt that if the science is right, the consequences for our planet are literally disastrous," said the prime minister. "This is not set to happen in a science fiction future but in our lifetime," Blair warned.

Former US vice president Al Gore has been retained by the British government to advise Great Britain on the environment. Gordon Brown, Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, made the announcement Monday.

Brown also stated that a bill would be introduced on climate change aimed at curbing Britain's CO2 emissions by 60 per cent by 2050. Sir Stern is to visit America where it is hoped that with Gore's help they can convince the Bush administration to join Great Britain's fight against climate change and join an international partnership of nation's intent on halting the environmental damage associated with greenhouse gas emissions.

He went on to state that an alternative to the Kyoto protocol on reducing greenhouse gases must be negotiated quickly and Prime Minister Brown agreed, saying that the United States needed to be behind the move to curb climate change if it's to succeed.

The United States has distanced itself from the Kyoto protocol saying that it would harm the economy, but White House counsel on environmental quality, Kristin Hellmer, said, "The president has said from the beginning that climate change is a serious issue, and he is taking action on it." Hellmer went on to say that the Bush administration has not had a chance to review Sir Stern's report on climate change.

Philip Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust said, "The Bush Administration has called a halt to dealing with global warming for nearly seven years now, and what the British government report shows is that we cannot wait any longer." According to Clapp, "The 10 to 20 percent projected drop in economic output the report projects would cut about $5,000 to $25,000 a year from the average American family's income. That's a drop of $350 to $700 a month."

"Waiting to combat the disastrous impacts of global warming threatens to be an enormous new tax imposed on average Americans. This cost, passed on by the oil, utility and auto industries to pay for their pollution, can be avoided by acting now instead of stalling any further," Clapp stated.

Tory Party leader David Cameron told the BBC on Sunday that a political consensus on green taxes was raised and that he would be prepared to impose taxes on aviation. Cameron's comments came after a leaked report was released from Miliband urging Brown to consider levying a green tax on flights, motoring and inefficient household appliances.