Countries that fail to adapt their economies to “cleaner” technologies are likely to lose export markets to those that do, said Nicholas Stern, former chief adviser on climate change to the U.K. government.
“Ten or 15 years from now, those that produce in dirty ways are likely to face trade barriers,” Stern told an audience at Australia’s National Press Club in Canberra today.
Stern, who favors a market mechanism for the price of carbon, said innovations include addressing the issues of low- emission technology, carbon capture and deforestation. He estimates the world needs to target an emissions level of two metric tons per capita compared with the current 20 ton average in developed economies such as Australia, Canada and the U.S.
“It means that the change is big and we can’t kid ourselves that it is anything other than radical,” he said
Stern met with Australian politicians during his visit, including government, opposition and independent lawmakers.
He declined to comment further on the meetings as Prime Minister Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott seek the support of unaligned parliamentarians to form government following the Aug. 21 election.
In 2006 Stern published a widely cited study of climate-change economics for the British government. His report said global warming may cost the world as much as 20 percent of the gross domestic product because of the effects of famine, rising sea levels, storms and other environmental damage.