Insulating every home relatively cheap says Stern
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 December 2008 at 12:26 pm
Insulating every home in the UK would be relatively cheap compared to what the Government has spent shoring up the banking system, according to Lord Stern. In a festive change to the normal BBC Radio 4's Today programme agenda of haranguing politicians, guest editor Jarvis Cocker took a look at how the climate and financial meltdowns are connected.
Not only was it more relaxing to listen to than your usual Today programme interview, but the former Pulp frontman got some great stuff out of Lord Stern (the author of The Stern Review of the economics of climate change). I just hope that Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband were listening.
First he pointed to lessons we can learn from the financial crisis for the climate crisis:
- the longer we let risks fester, the bigger the impact, crash and consequences
- we have to collaborate
- there is a real opportunity here, which is very attractive when you look closely at it.
As an example of the third lesson he pointed to the 'tremendous opportunities' if all the unemployed housebuilders and construction workers were to get to work insulating the UK's old housing stock (an idea not a million miles away from those outlined in the Green New Deal).
Stern's off the cuff estimate of how much it would cost to insulate every home in the UK was 'a few billion'. Peanuts compared to what's gone into propping up the banks, or to use his words: 'It's fair to say that the amount we have to spend on climate change in the sense of cutting back on emissions looks quite small, at least relative to the amounts we're putting in to shore up the banking system'.
He finished off on a note of optimism, pointing out that the UK has committed to 80 per cent reductions in carbon emissions by 2050, and Obama plans to set the same target. I hope he's right, and that the government is busy with its new year's resolutions... Let's get started!
By Cathy Debenham
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