Thursday, June 5, 2008

World Environment Day

To address climate change we need to think both with our wallets and our hearts (notes for an intervention at an OECD ministerial meeting in Paris, June 4th, 2008).

Climate change is an issue that is global and global solutions should be found. But we must make very clear that politics should define the goals and targets, and that the business and science must, in undistorted competition, find the best solutions. Lets not speak about 50-50-50 until 2050 until we do 20-20-20 by 2020.

Politics should not pick winners. We need a third industrial revolution and it will be done by science and business. To be enable it we must create a level playing field for competing technologies and this also means creating a single price for CO2, regardless of its source, and not distorted by widely different taxation and subsidies even if the tax is not called CO2 tax. This would enable the market to identify the cheapest solutions.

But so much about thinking with the wallet. At least as important is the thinking with the heart, at least as important are the changed ethical values of the consumer. We must make sure that the values and ethics shift, that environmental friendliness becomes a value, just like design, brand, fashion and other influences of our culture and that consumers have the right information to exercise their attitude towards the environment.

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