The credit crunch might have a silver lining in promoting the green agenda, commentators believe.
Lord Stern of Brentford, the author of the Government’s influential report on climate change, says the financial squeeze might provide an opportunity to invest in more eco-friendly measures to tackle global warming as a way of stimulating economic growth.“This is an area which looks as though it could well grow strongly and, with the right support, be one of the major engines of growth,” Lord Stern told a national newspaper.Rather than divert attention from the environmental agenda, the financial upheaval might illustrate the dangers of not tackling risks early enough, he said. The credit crunch is aleady having other benefits for the environment. More than 60,000 UK residents are now members of car sharing schemes.Nick Rosen, author of a book How to Live Off-Grid (reviewed in the September edition of CS), reports that traffic to his blog has risen by 30%-40%. It is thought that fear and lack of credit are driving more people to consider ‘downsizing’. Monty Don, the new president of the Soil Association, has called for Britain’s 11 milllion gardeners to grow vegetables. He wants a national policy of food self-sufficiency at a time of increasing international uncertainty.Meanwhile, the Government’s own climate change watchdog has warned that we must abandon almost all fossil fuels to produce power within the next 20 years. The Independent Climate Change Committee says we should cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Gordon Brown has also established a new department for energy and climate change.