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Green values: Consumers and branding

The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provides the strongest evidence to date that human activities are the primary contributor to climate change - thescientific consensus is that the probability of this being the case isgreater than 90%. These same scientists tell us that to stabilise concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a level that will avoid the most dangerous consequences of global warming will require cuts in emissions of 50-80% by 2050.

With the Kyoto Protocol, European Emissions Trading Scheme and various city, state and regional initiatives in the United States, governments have started to take action. Regulation - in the form of direct legislation, taxation and cap-and-trade schemes - is likely to be extended over the coming years. However, at the current rate of progress, this by itself will not deliver the cuts we need at the speed we need them.

In the Stern Report on the Economics of Climate Change, it is estimated that action now to reduce emissions is affordable at some 1 % to 3% of global GDP. If action is delayed, even by 0 to 20 years, costs will arise dramatically; vitally, however, losses due to damage will mount rapidly and may become economically overwhelming.

Forward-thinking consumers and businesses are waking up to these scientific and economic arguments and are already starting to vote for lower carbon products and services with their wallets and purses. I commend this research to people seeking to identify the consumers who are most engaged on this issue.

Download the full report (pdf)

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