Climate protection best choice for business growth, top economist says
Date: Tuesday, February 20 2007
Mike De Souza, CanWest News Service
Published: Monday, February 19, 2007
TORONTO ó Fighting global warming and working to meet Canadaís Kyoto commitments will not cause an economic collapse, despite the Harper governmentís recent assertions, a major economist told a lunchtime business crowd on Monday.
Former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern was making his first visit to Canada since last fall, when he published a 700-page report that made international headlines with its warnings that the world could face an economic catastrophe similar to the Great Depression by ignoring the threat of climate change.
"So you have your choice now," Stern said in a speech to the Economic Club of Toronto: "You can be absurd and reject the science; you can be reckless and say we can adapt to whatever happens; or you can be unethical and disregard the future, simply because itís in the future. Thatís entirely up to you."
Stern has calculated, in his economic report commissioned by the British government, that the costs of taking action are five to 20 times less than the cost of doing nothing to fight climate change.
"I think there are going to be, as we go along the road, quite a lot of economic opportunities there," he said. "Canada (has a) history as a nation which has got real skills in natural resources development, or great skills in agriculture. I think that, as well, the cost (is) the kind that you can absorb and continue to grow."
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on February 21, 2007]