In Climate change and public policy futures, the British Academy highlights how the deindustrialisation of Britain has actually increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Report author, Ian Gough, found production-based emissions have fallen in the UK by 15% since 1990, but emissions created by the consumption of goods produced elsewhere in the world, have risen by 19% during the same period.

To invest now in new technology to mitigate the effects of climate change will cost less in the longer term, claims the report.

Professor Gough, a research fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Philosophy, said: “There is no magic bullet in climate change mitigation, but failure to act now will mean higher costs in the future.

“Climate change will impact most on the poorest and most vulnerable in society, more is spent on poorly targeted winter fuel payments than on all programmes to improve insulation for households which would be more beneficial for those in fuel poverty.

“Policymakers in the future are going to have to reverse previous policy decisions and make much more integrated environmental and economic policy.”

The report, the first in planned series entitled New Paradigms in Public Policy which have been commissioned by the British Academy, the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences, and will be published through 2011.

Luke Walsh

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