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Energy and Transportation Each Have a Powerful ‘Sustainable Story’

Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, urges lawmakers to resist the urge to regress.

A technician climbs a wind turbine to inspect the rotor blades for damage in Brandenburg, Germany on May 27, 2020.

A technician climbs a wind turbine to inspect the rotor blades for damage in Brandenburg, Germany on May 27, 2020.

Photographer: Christoph Soeder/DPA/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Bloomberg Green: I want to go back to your 2006 report, The Economics of Climate Change, which said climate was the biggest market failure the world has ever seen. Sitting here now in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, where countries are developing rescue packages on a scale never seen before, do you still think that statement is true?

Nicholas Stern: Yes, I do. Because what we’re talking about with climate change is the way in which markets give the wrong signals. This Covid crisis is a different story. Serious though it is, it may last for, let’s say, a couple of years or so. A climate crisis would be much bigger, much longer-lasting. All people are involved in creating emissions, and everyone is going to suffer the consequences.