Gordon Brown gave an excellent speech earlier today at Lancaster House in London to the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on climate change and energy about the impacts of climate change.
He invokes the threats of the melting of Himilayan glaciers, in 25 years. He talks about the threats to water supplies, food supplies, and the threats of unprecedented 'climate migration'. Other climate impacts that he invokes include the loss of the rainforests, fisheries, and biodiversity.
He claims that we face a future of two paths: one of 'business as usual' that will deliver growth for some time, but will eventually collapse under these burdens of a warming world. We cannot stand around while the world boils. He contrasts that with the path of 'low-carbon, high growth' that will cause some economic dislocations now, but will avoid the worst catastrophes of climate change. Brown says it will not be easy, and this path will challenge long-held assumptions about politics and economics. However, it must be worth it.
This speech underlines that leadership in the UK 'gets it' on climate change better than almost any other nation. Brown understands that talk about climate change must be forward looking. We cannot talk about the costs of mitigation, without talking about the costs of inaction. Too often, polticians in the US only talk about the short-term. With regards to climate change, we're only just begining a generational project to address this challenge.