Lord Stern, author of the Stern Review and former chief economist with the World Bank, proposed a radical departure from British government policy on climate change. He suggested that the rich nations should bury their differences with China by taking ownership of some of the greenhouse gas emissions that China produces. He was speaking via live weblink to 72 venues screening Franny Armstrongs film The Age of Stupid.
At present, Britain and the other rich nations accept responsibility only for the greenhouse gas emissions produced on their own territory. China says that this is unfair because many of the goods we consume are manufactured there, leaving China with emissions that should by rights belong to us.
If the UK was responsible for the emissions it has offshored to other countries, instead of falling 16% since 1990, our greenhouse gases would have risen by 19%. The British government fiercely rejects Chinas arguments that those offshored emissions should belong to us.
Tonight Stern proposed a compromise solution. In response to a question by the journalist George Monbiot, he told the audience, "My own view is that we probably need something like an average of the two, or a combination of the two."
He continued, "the logical point that China makes that there is a definite responsibility with the consumer and not just with the producer is a sound one."