THE STERN REVIEW: Trust me, I’m a banker!


ON WEDNESDAY Sir Nicholas Stern presented his Review of the Economics of Climate Change, commissioned by Chancellor Gordon Brown. Stern is the Chief Economist at the Treasury and a former Chief Economist at the World Bank.

Immediately, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Brown, the Tory leader David Cameron and Sir Menzies Campbell addressed the press to declare their support for the finding of Stern’s review and parade their ‘Green’ credentials.

Stern said: ‘There is time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change if we act now and act internationally. Delaying action, even by a decade or two, will take us into dangerous territory.’

His report reviewed the scientific evidence concerning global warming. This shows that the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) has gone up from 280 parts per million (ppm) within the atmosphere prior to the capitalist industrial revolution to 430 ppm today.

CO2 restricts the radiation of heat from the Earth’s surface into space. This heat is produced by the Sun’s radiation and other heat-generating activities on the Earth.

The average temperature of the Earth has risen by almost 1?C over the past 100 years as a result of the increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. Projecting the increasing level of the gas into the future, it is estimated that it will rise to 550ppm by 2050, leading to a further 1?C rise in the average temperature of the Earth.

The biggest producers of CO2 emissions in 2000 were the United States (6,928m tonnes), China (4,938m tonnes), Russia (1,915m tonnes), India (1,884m tonnes), Japan (1,317m tonnes), Germany (1,009m tonnes), Brazil (851m tonnes) and Britain (654m tonnes).

Over the past 100 years small glaciers in the Andes have melted, and the ice in Greenland, the Arctic and Antarctica has decreased.

These are the findings of the natural sciences. What Stern has done is mix up natural science and capitalist economics.

The latter is his main pre-occupation and that of his political master, Chancellor Brown, who is responsible for the economic policies pursued by the Labour government on behalf of British imperialism.

His previous work includes a paper on ‘Third World’ debt presented by Blair to last year’s G8 Summit at Gleneagles. The result, hundreds of thousands of people are dying from starvation, poverty and disease in sub-Saharan Africa today.

Stern admits he is using ‘probabilities’ and ‘risk assessments’, the favoured tools of financial speculators, when he makes his predictions of a ‘Doomsday’ scenario of a 20 per cent drop in GDP, similar to that caused by World War II, or in the 1930s Depression.

What is clear is that Stern’s review has nothing to do with the future, it has everything to do with the world capitalist crisis today.

A recession is gaining momentum in the US and this will drag the European and Japanese economies with it. Blair and Brown are preparing the ground to justify unemployment, tax rises, and cuts in pay and public services, on the basis that this is necessary ‘for the future of the planet’.

At the same time they want to revamp the United Nations and World Bank to implement a ‘carbon trading scheme’.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are the imperialist institutions that have been smashing up the economies of the countries of Africa and Latin America for almost 30 years, privatising their infant state industries, and slashing funds for health and education.

Now they want to turn the screws on the former colonial peoples even more, by buying their carbon quotas and keeping their economies backward, while allowing the imperialists to maximise their profits.

The imperialists have done nothing about current environmental disasters. Thousands die and hundreds of thousands are made homeless in Bangladesh, but there is no funding for flood defences. The Bush regime could not even protect, or rescue, workers’ families in New Orleans, hit by Hurricane Katrina.

The only way to ensure that everyone on the planet has clean water, enough food, a home, healthcare, education and all the other things necessary for a decent life is to overthrow capitalism.

This means building parties of the Fourth International today to lead the working class and labouring masses to take power and complete the World Socialist Revolution.

A World Federation of Socialist States must be established to draw up plans and implement them on the basis of a rational, scientific, sustainable use of the Earth’s natural resources to provide for people’s needs.