By Mick Krever, CNN
Is climate change a crisis “we can’t afford to ignore”?
“For most of decision-takers – either governments or businessmen – the main obstacle is on the economic side,” Former Mexican President Felipe Calderón told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
“So as the American campaign once said, ‘It's the economy, stupid’” – referring to the informal slogan of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign.
A growing chorus of power brokers are making the case that tackling climate change makes economic sense above all else. The latest is Former U.S. Treasury Sectary Henry Paulson, a Republican who served under George W. Bush.
He has now joined an army of top U.S. business leaders with an economic analysis of doing nothing, called “Risky Business.”
“It is possible, completely,” Calderon said. “We can have economic growth, poverty alleviation – we can create jobs being responsible with the environment.”
Calderon and his compatriots, of course, face a small but loud group of climate skeptics who believe that fighting climate change would itself be ruinous.
The former Mexican president has said that the “most serious problem” is the United States Congress.
“In the American politics, it is like a religion issue. It's not a question of science, unfortunately. But for me, it's not a question of did you believe in climate change or you don’t. Are you a believer or denier?”
That does not mean, Calderon told Amanpour, that there will not be “winners and losers.”
“We need to be honest about that. But at aggregate level, there will be even more winners than anything. For instance, now the workers related with the wind energy in the United States are by far much more than the workers in the coal industry.”
There are many vested interests opposed to climate change, he said, but they must be defeated.
Click above to watch Amanpour’s full interview with Calderon, and hear why he denies having “declared a war on drugs.”