Stern report attacked for ‘advocacy’: The landmark Stern review into climate change has been challenged by a Productivity Commission paper that argues it is “as much an exercise in advocacy as an economic analysis”. It found that the 2006 report by the former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern — which had a profound impact on climate change policy, warning it was a serious threat to human welfare unless immediately tackled — exaggerated the likelihood of rising greenhouse gas emissions triggering catastrophic events. Commissioned by the British Government, the Stern review argued that climate change had the potential to shrink the global economy by between 5% and 20%, causing social disruption on a scale similar to the world wars or Great Depression. The Age

Change the law, not just the light bulbs -Gore: Climate campaigner Al Gore challenged policymakers on Thursday to step up action against the “planetary emergency” of global warming by making new laws, saying action by individuals could help only at the margins. In a swipe at the Bush administration’s environmental record, the former U.S. Vice President also said any new government in Washington after elections in November could only be an improvement. “In addition to changing the light bulbs, it is far more important to change the laws and to change the treaty obligations that nations have,” Gore told delegates at the World Economic Forum annual meeting. Guardian

Water as critical as climate change: Global crises from escalating demand for fresh water and inadequate supply are as urgent as efforts to tackle climate change – yet are more vexing and complicated, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008 heard today. A panel including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told international business CEOs and civil society leaders assembled in Davos that water stress poses a risk to economic growth, human rights, health, safety and national security. The challenge of securing safe and plentiful water for all,” said the Secretary-General, “is one of the most daunting challenges faced by the world today.” “The solution to water is more complex than the solution to climate change,” added Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé, Switzerland. allAfrica

Climate change to hit health above economy: study: Climate change will have potentially devastating consequences for human health, outweighing global economic impacts, researchers said on Friday, calling for urgent action to protect the world’s population. “While we embark on more rapid reduction of emissions to avert future climate change, we must also manage the now unavoidable health risks from current and pending climate change,” said Australian researcher Tony McMichael, who co-authored a study in the British Medical Journal. “This will have adverse health effects in all populations, particularly in geographically vulnerable and resource-poor regions,” he said. Reuters

Organic Cuba without fossil fuels: Cuba’s experience has opened our eyes to agriculture without fossil fuels, a possibility rapidly turning into a necessity for mitigating climate change as world production of petroleum has also peaked. Cuba is where agriculture without fossil fuels has been put to its greatest test, and it has passed with flying colours. The year 1989 ushered in the “Special Period” [1] a scenario that will hit some countries in the not too distant future unless they prepare for it right now. UN Observer

Peter Fray

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