Labour’s new proposal in the fight against climate change

Notes from the front of 22-11-2017

Labour’s new proposal in the fight against climate change

Last week the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell put forward a ground-breaking proposal that governments should factor in the fiscal risks of global warming into economic forecasts.

McDonnell said: ‘Climate change now is the key challenge that we have to face and we face to make sure that when we go into government it becomes central to everything that we do in the development of our economic policies.’

McDonnell’s proposal that the Office of Budget Responsibility – which reports to the Treasury and to the Chancellor on how economic policies are working – should now also report on the climate change impacts of the government’s economic policies will greatly aid and inform economic policymaking and planning.

McDonnell explained that Labour ‘wants to ensure that the overwhelming challenge of climate change is address from the very centre of government. This includes the potential losses to the public finances. The public deserve to know what impacts we might expect on the national purse from the degradation of our environment. Sound, responsible economic management should already be accounting for this.’

With global temperatures currently projected to rise above 3 degrees C by the end of this century, urgent action is needed from governments across the world to implement policies which limit global warming below the 1.5 degrees C – the level that the overwhelmingly majority of scientists identify as the decisive level of warming before the impacts of climate change become catastrophic. Labour’s proposal would help put the fight against climate change at the heart of national government, which is where it needs to be.