By Mick Krever, CNN
The British are famous for obsessing about the weather – but with the wettest January in 250 years, and parts of Southern England literally submerged in water, they have lots to obsess about.
For Rachel Kyte, World Bank Special Envoy for Climate Change, extreme weather events are just another example for why climate change should be discussed not just as an environmental problem, but an economic one.
“The extreme weather events that we thought were going to happen to somebody else, over there, in the future, and now are actually happening right now, here, to us,” she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.
“What we’re trying to do is bring the science of climate, which nobody’s arguing about now, into the economic policy-making rooms,” she said. “We want to try to bring the science and the economic planning together so we have a difference set of decisions being made.”
Despite its enormous destructive power, Kyte, a World Bank vice president, is trying to impress upon policy makers the “huge opportunities” that climate change presents for the world economy.
“Opportunities to live in cities where it’s easier to breath; opportunities to change the way that we farm so that we can feed people.”
“Opportunities for all of the new jobs that will come from the greener economy. And the competitiveness that comes from public transport systems that allow poor people to get to work more easily.”
Political leadership is needed – and some countries, she said, like Mexico, Brazil, and the Philippines are already providing some of it.
“We have to convey the excitement and opportunity that could come with expensive decisions that have to be made now, but that will have a benefit over time,” she said.