Where’s the beef with a greener future that also makes us happier and healthier? The Committee on Climate Change has shown that decarbonising is not only affordable but highly desirable
Lord Stern’s 2006 report on the impact of climate change was one of the first landmark studies to prove that the cost of failing to take action would dwarf the investment required to help prevent it. The committee’s work proves that, even setting aside Stern’s compelling counter-factual, the price of a sustainable future is lower than expected – and falling. Eighteen months ago, the committee believed that the investment needed to create a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 could total 1% of GDP a year by the middle of the century. This was already a small price to pay to end Britain’s contribution to the greatest existential crisis of modern times. But its latest work now estimates that this ambition will cost far less. It will require investment of around 0.6% of GDP in the 2030s, and 0.5% by 2050, in large part because the cost of low-carbon technologies continues to fall as they are rolled out at scale.