Climate change “poses a systemic risk” to the UK

The UK’s outgoing climate change envoy warned a parliamentary committee that inattention to climate change will amplify food, water and energy insecurity and lead to “dangerous stresses” as the planet warms beyond 2C.

John Ashton told the energy and climate change select committee: “This potentially unmanageable combination of stresses poses a systemic risk to the security and prosperity of our country.”

His warning included a call for continued, but transformed, economic growth: “A rapid shift to low carbon growth is essential for security, competitiveness and prosperity, not an intolerable risk to competitiveness, jobs, and growth.”

Sadly, he Guardian story noted Tory MPs still slammed Ashton as anti-growth, with one claiming “going green is going to slow down the growth that we need.”

Growth is exactly what national economies like the UK don’t need. We need reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, risk, and human suffering; the assumption that growth auto-magically delivers these outcomes is a false one.