Classic quote: politician’s advice to tourist industry executives

September 26, 2007 at 3:55 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In the UK there’s cross party support for a Climate Change Bill. In the EU, all member states are part of an international emissions trading scheme.

In Phase II in 2012 we will see aviation introduced and in Phase III there are suggestions of adding road and rail. It’s about putting a price on carbon emissions.

The bad news is that requires the intervention of politicians.

Sir Nicolas Stern, in his report on the Economics of Climate Change, was clear that the costs of not taking action were massively greater than doing what needs to be done now.

Can I suggest that there are intelligent and stupid ways of responding to something like the Stern Report?

No sensible scientist ever claims to have the last word. And economics is more of an art than a science.

Sir Nicholas Stern is an economist, the former Chief Economist at the World Bank, and it is reasonable for other economists to delve into the detail of his analysis and question his assumptions. That’s fair game.

What it is not intelligent, or helpful to your industry or anyone else, is to respond to a 700-page report by one of the world’s leading economists as follows:

“A lot of lies and misinformation has been put about by eco-nuts on the back of a report by an idiot economist”

If you cannot guess the author of this remark let me give you a clue from another of his soundbites:

“I am far too busy doubling Ryanair over the next few years to be joining any carbon emissions trading scheme”

If industries do not get the message, or fail to participate in combating climate change they risk ending up being frog marched into compliance. I suggest that it might be far better to be ahead of the curve and go green anyway.

Peter Ainsworth MP
Member of Parliament for East Surrey
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Excerpt from his speech at The Triton Conference which took place in Portugal, 11-14 May 2007.

I think this snippet from Peter Ainsworth’s speech at The Triton Conference serves to highlight the difference between European and American politicians’ approaches, and public expectations, for tackling issues, in this case climate change. Politicians’ interactions with businesses and individuals operate from completely different cultural bases. European politicians are heard giving speeches advising business leaders, and individuals do look to government agencies and other authorities for guidelines, if not regulations, to help solve problems. In the U.S., this approach is turned on its head.

The entire speech is worth reading. Here’s another excerpt:

To summarise so far:

  • Tourism can be a powerful force for economic and social good
  • However the growth in the number of tourists from 25 million worldwide to over 860million today is leading to growing environmental pressures.
  • The degradation of tourist sites is bad for tour operators economically and bad for the environment
  • Climate change is happening rapidly, and it is unlikely that some existing resorts will be able to adapt
  • Public and political pressure to embrace environmental issues is mounting
  • It is therefore essential that the travel industry faces up to these issues, as this debate so encouragingly suggests that you are

and I am delighted that the Triton Conference has offset the carbon emissions arising from this gathering.

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