We Must Act Now

By Brown, Gordon | Newsweek International, September 28, 2009 | Go to article overview

We Must Act Now


Brown, Gordon, Newsweek International


Byline: Gordon Brown; Brown is the prime minister of the United Kingdom.

In 11 weeks, the world will convene in Copenhagen, under the auspices of the United Nations, to forge a new international agreement on climate change. It is a historic moment: the ultimate test of global cooperation. Yet the negotiations are proceeding so slowly that a deal is in grave danger. If we miss the opportunity to protect our planet, there will be no second chance some time in the future; no way to go back and undo the catastrophic damage to the environment.

So when world leaders gather this week, first at the U.N. in New York and then at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, it is essential that we move toward resolving the issues that still divide our nations.

As scientists spell out the mounting evidence both of the climate change already occurring and of the threat it poses in the future, we cannot allow the negotiations to run out of time simply for lack of attention. Failure would be unforgivable. The threat is not only humanitarian and ecological, it is also economic. Three years ago, the Stern Report, which I commissioned, concluded that the economic damage of unchecked global warming could amount to 5 to 20 percent of global GDP--an economic cost greater than the losses caused by the two world wars and Great Depression of the 20th century.

Some argue that, amid demanding economic conditions, our resolve to meet environmental commitments should weaken, that the costs are too high. In fact the opposite is true; a strong agreement in Copenhagen is essential for global economic recovery. For that recovery depends on the investment that an agreement will unleash. There can be little doubt that the economy of the 21st century will be low-carbon. What has now become clear is that the push toward decarbonization will be one of the major drivers of global and national economic growth over the next decade. And the economies that embrace the green revolution earliest will reap the greatest economic rewards.

Initially, more efficient consumption of energy will bring greater overall productivity, as resources once directed to meet fuel bills are released for investment. Meanwhile, the need for low-carbon energy production and infrastructure, both to replace aging infrastructure in the developed world and to meet the needs of rapid growth in emerging economies, will require up to $33 trillion of investment by 2030, according to estimates from the International Energy Agency. By 2015, the global environmental sector could be worth $7 trillion and sustain tens of millions of jobs.

Perhaps the most important element of this low-carbon future is the wave of innovation that will accompany the decarbonization drive. Some of the technologies required are fairly mature, such as onshore wind and household insulation--though even there significant improvements are still to be made. But many others will see dramatic improvements and breakthroughs, both in performance and in cost.

This is beginning to happen already in areas like large-scale battery design, as the auto industry accelerates research and development of electric cars. It is happening in sustainable building technologies, in new lightweight materials, in solar power, in carbon capture and storage, and in various lean manufacturing technologies. As innovations in one area feed into others, the economic potential and benefits will ripple out across the global economy.

Just as the revolution in information and communications technologies provided a major motor of growth over the past 30 years, the transformation to low-carbon technologies will do so over the next. It is unsurprising, therefore, that over the past year governments across the world have made green investment a major part of their economic stimulus packages. They have recognized the vital role that spending on energy efficiency and infrastructure can have on demand and employment in the short term, while also laying the foundations for future growth. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

We Must Act Now
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.