by Bruce Duncan, in The Japan Mission Journal (Winter 2006), 224-37. With permission.
Everywhere concern is growing about the consequences of global warming. The US ex-presidential candidate, Gore, has won over much public opinion with his book and. film, An Inconvenient Truth, summarising the effects of the greenhouse gases, which will cause sea levels to rise, more extreme weather patterns, and disruption to agriculture and commerce. Cutting our greenhouse emissions will require major changes to our way of life, from our use of fossil fuels to how we design housing and cities and even to what we eat.
In October 2006, the Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change further galvanised world concern about this unprecedented challenge. Professor Nicholas Stern had been chief economist at the World Bank and currently works for the UK Treasury. His 579-page report analysed the scientific data about climate change and drew out the economic costs and benefits, arguing to policy makers and business communities that “the benefits of strong, early action considerably outweigh the costs.” Moreover, the likely effects of climate change were so serious that urgent action was needed, before warming escalated out of control.
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