UK needs green economics minister, advisers urge

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The UK government should create a new ministerial post for green economics, an international policy group that includes MPs past and present has said.

The minister would play a role similar to the Treasury chief secretary, but looking after “natural capital”.

The recommendation comes from Globe International, whose members include ex-Environment Secretary John Gummer – now Lord Deben – and Zac Goldsmith MP.

Its report was launched at a major UN environment meeting in Japan.

Other countries should modernise their government structures for similar ends, it says.

“The chief secretary looks after the ‘national economic interest’ in the narrow sense,” Lord Deben told BBC News.

“But we have to expand that to take in the natural capital that we’ll lose if we don’t look after it.”

Lord Deben – currently Globe’s president – and Mr Goldsmith are regularly credited with having helped to “green” the Conservative leadership, partly through leading the 2007 Blueprint for a Green Economy project, which reported to David Cameron.

Last week, the final report from a UN-backed study on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb) reaffirmed that degradation of nature – deforestation, water pollution, destructive fishing, and so on – is costing the global economy between $2 trillion and £ each year.

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