Stern urges wide political involvement in Paris talks

26th August 2015


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  • Mitigation

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IEMA

Presidents, prime ministers, economy and finance ministers should attend the UN climate negotiations in Paris, not just environment and foreign ministers, Lord Stern told a meeting of ambassadors.

Speaking at an event organised by the French government, professor Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said: “Remember, this is about development and growth.

"This is about the two defining challenges of our century: overcoming poverty and managing climate change. If we fail on one, we will fail on the other.”

Stern also said he thought there was now a greater understanding about the dangers of delaying action on climate change than at the Copenhagen talks in 2009, and that this greater awareness boosted the prospects for success in Paris.

Data about other significant problems caused by fossil fuels, such as air pollution, is also much better, he pointed out.

There was also better understanding of how economic growth and climate responsibility can come together, though he expressed concern that some political leaders still saw the two as conflicting aims.

He said: “To portray them as in conflict is to misunderstand economic development and the opportunities that we now have to move to the low-carbon economy. To pretend otherwise is diversionary and indeed creates an ‘artificial horse race’ which can cause real damage to the prospects for agreement.”

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