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Climate change: cost and opportunity

February 10th, 2014
02:49 PM ET

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.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Climate • Latest Episode
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Mary Bast

    Christian I just want to comment Drastic Climate change conditions...I'm a christian and believe in the prophecies of the Bible. The climate change and natural disasters are predicted all the Bible everywhere. Mathew 24 chapter Luke 21 chapter. Where Jesus is tallking about His return to the earth and the condition of the planet before His return.Luke 21:11 'He said nations will rise against nations, kingdoms against kingdoms. There willbe great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places and fearful events and great signs from heaven.' Luke 21:25-26 ' There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth nations will be in great anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the
    sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the earth for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with Power and Great glory.' These are just two verses that i have mentioned. I know the world is crying shouting and making big noises about global warming etc. but people are not willing to accept the truth that its coming to an end, because of its sinfulness. When i see the news i compare it to the Bible's prophecies and I just marvel, how close we r!!!!! Have you heard about the prophecy of 4 blood moons between this year and next year? Four blood moons are NASA findings but they coincide with today's Bible prophecies. Hear the message on 4 blood moons by Pastor John Hegge, on you tube. God bless with the truth.

    February 10, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Reply
    • vonschutter

      @Mary, simply because something is written in a book a long time ago does not make it true. Please realize that the Bible's new testament is very similar to other older texts; Egyptian mythology for example contains stories about virgin birth, 12 disciples, miracles, dying and rising again etc. It appears that most of these stories are simply astrological allegories. may you please substantiate these claims of yours?

      February 11, 2014 at 7:41 am | Reply
      • JFH

        A christian fundamentalist will never admit that the bible is wrong. Thank "god" for science. Here's a little reading material for all of our bible thumpers.

        February 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
  2. Claudia

    Here in the south of Brazil, Florianopolis, we are facing an extreme summer. Temperatures are everyday near 40C. We have never felt an intense summer like this. In a lot of places the water tanks are low and electricity shortage as well. It´s kind of "funny" and also interesting when we hear Britain´s Prime Minister apologising about the flooding conditions and actually doing something about it. Here we don´t hear anything or see anything been done by the govern not now or when we are under water, which happens every summer. I totally respect and enjoyed Rachel Kyte interview, but all the time that we hear that Brazil is doing this or that we definitely don´t understand where this come from and definitely don´t see it. We wish that we could see all the beauty of progress that everybody from outside sees, but unfortunately we don´t. To sum up, as always it is great to watch Christiane Amapour.

    February 11, 2014 at 6:12 am | Reply
    • Rob

      Not sure how hot 40C is, but at least it's warm. It's WAY to cold here. 5 degrees F. Way too cold. It's not because of "climate change" though. It's called winter. I'm guessing that your situation could be caused by something called summer.

      February 11, 2014 at 8:21 am | Reply
  3. ashok

    If governments, supported by their people, do not acknowledge the problem and commit serious resources to mitigating climate change, nature will keep presenting the checks in bits and pieces.

    February 11, 2014 at 7:00 am | Reply
  4. vonschutter

    In this report Christiane challenges the interviewee to provide some real answers to how the required changes to our economy can be accomplished. Political leadership seams like quite a weak response. I find it hard to see how these significant changes can be completed under the current global paradigm. As long as the quarterly bottom line is the primary focus of business, business will continue to influence law to allow for short term bottom line growth. This means that fossil fuels will continue to underpin our society.

    Perhaps, what is needed is an implementation of a natural law resource based economy, rater than a capital based economy. Further information in the UK can be best explained by Ben McLeish (Just google him and get in touch). This would be an interesting interview indeed. Otherwise Peter Joseph as the founder of the Zeitgeist movement would be a great interview as well (the Zeitgeist movement is a sustainability advocacy group).

    February 11, 2014 at 8:01 am | Reply
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    ..HAARP maybe ?

    February 13, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Reply
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  8. Jennifer

    "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."..... Kyte's enormous destructive power???? I'm afraid this journalist doesn't have basic grammar skills.

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