Sir Nicholas Stern is a great man. I don’t know how many of you can remember his name but I for one will never forget that he once wrote the eponymous report that triggered the whole hooha about environmental issues. It was at the beginning of October 2006. Sir Nicholas wrote this report about our endangered planet and what we were doing to it and suddenly, we not only became aware of facts that were supposed not to exist before, but we got all dragged down into this big environmental maelstrom. Strange as it may seem, the bleak and distressing announcement that “there is a 50% chance that average global temperatures could rise by five degrees Celsius” Came as a blessing to me. For the first time in history, one was able to pronounce the “E” word without running the risk of being taken for a ‘Commie’. Why was that? Was it because Sir Stern was Tony Blair’s envoy? Not really. It probably helped but in fact I’m not even sure about that judging by the lack of trust Tony Blair and his successor had to suffer recently.
More seriously, Sir Nicholas Stern used to be the chief economist of the World Bank. That certainly lifts any suspicion about intentions he may have.
One could deem that Sir Stern was a wolf in sheep’s clothing but also that he was more credible than the most competent of environmentalists. Here lies a true Marketing recipe in fact that when the message is worth conveying, it is more important to voice it through credible or influential people (so-called opinion leaders) than using the most competent of dedicated professionals. This job of convincing and changing public opinion is possibly the most important of all. Al Gore also understood that a wonky powerpoint presentation could land the message that hundreds of true experts before him had repetedly failed to convey.
A true Marketing lesson, delivered this time for the common benefit.
- notes on the economic impact (Source: the BBC, Stern review at a glance)
- “extreme weather could reduce global gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 1%
- a two to three degrees Celsius rise in temperatures could reduce global economic output by 3%
- If temperatures rise by five degrees Celsius, up to 10% of global output could be lost. The poorest countries would lose more than 10% of their output
- In the worst case scenario global consumption per head would fall 20%
- To stabilise at manageable levels, emissions would need to stabilise in the next 20 years and fall between 1% and 3% after that. This would cost 1% of GDP”
- A recent article on this subject by AFP, the French equivalent to Reuters:
- Story from BBC NEWS: