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Stern says keep politics out of climate change

Stern says keep politics out of climate change

No more talk of "green being the new red" claims the author of the Stern Report

Two of the government's closest advisers on climate change and the creation of New Labour have criticised recent policy on Heathrow's third runway and called for a more positive approach to environmental issues.

Speaking at the Hay Festival event late last week, organised by the Guardian newspaper, Lord Nicholas Stern said that the decision to go ahead with third runway at Heathrow probably had not involved enough research around carbon budgets and transport policy.

"My guess is, had it been well taken, it would have gone the other way," Stern told the Guardian. "We can't tell whether such a runway is justified [in the face of] the problems of greenhouse gas emissions unless it's in the context of programmes for trains, roads and other airports."

But despite concerns over the government's handling of the Heathrow runway, Stern said it was important to have a "political consensus" on climate change and that any political posturing would only distract from the issues at hand.

"We must stop saying things like, 'green is the new red'," he said, "Climate change has nothing at all to do with left or right issues."

Also speaking at the Hay Festival was Lord Anthony Giddens, a professor emeritus at the London School of Economics. According to Giddens' LSE biography, "he has had a major impact upon the evolution of New Labour in the UK".

Giddens said that the UK government needs to embrace a more positive attitude to climate change "There's a long way to go really," he told the Guardian. "I think we need a sort of revolution in our attitude to the politics of climate change."

The UK should take inspiration from President Barack Obama who had emphasised how investment in green technology could help boost employment and have be nefits to the economy as well as the environment, Giddens added

"I don't think we are going to get far by the existing strategy which is essentially based on scaring people," he said. "We need much more vision of the sort of society we are trying to bring about. We need more of a utopia, less of a dystopia."

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