Journalists were bizarrely banned from asking questions at the launch of the Stern Review yesterday, so the question several reporters wanted to ask Tony Blair, who was presiding, was never put: "What message do you think this sends to George Bush?"
For a whacking great message there certainly is, even if the Prime Minister was excused from being asked to spell it out himself. In 2001 President Bush took the United States out of the Kyoto protocol, the ground-breaking climate change treaty, on the premise that its requirement to cut US greenhouse gas emissions would damage the American economy. The Stern Review tells him bluntly: not cutting your emissions will eventually damage your economy a hell of a lot more.
This is not a Greenpeace campaigner talking, remember, not someone who might be suspected of harbouring a secret socialist agenda. This is a former chief economist of one of global capitalism's most revered institutions, the World Bank. And what Sir Nicholas Stern has done with his report on the economics of climate change is remarkable: he has ripped up the last excuse for inaction. …