It is imperative to tackle climate change- and to do it now. This is a report written by a former World Bank chief economist, Nick Stern and with a message that cannot be mistaken or misinterpreted – he states that climate change is the greatest market failure ever seen.

Global warming and resulting climate change is a clear and present danger, current prediction suggests that the planet will warm by another 0.2C over the next decade. And do you believe planting trees is a viable solution? A recent study suggests planting trees to absorb CO2 and offset carbon emissions would, in fact, add to global warming if planted in mid and high latitude, rather than planting in tropical areas.

Climate change is not the only serious environmental concern, however, and should not overshadow other local and regional concerns. Recent studies and reports show that air pollution contributes significantly to ill health and premature deaths-more damaging in fact that exposure to radiation following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Two explosions at the Chernobyl reactor killed three people instantly and more than thirty died of acute radiation poisoning. The plume that spread over much of Europe is estimated to have caused up to 16,000 deaths, by comparison, recent studies indicate that exposure to poor air quality causes 24,000 premature deaths every year.

These and many other concerns are being driven and exacerbated by our consumption of ever reducing natural resources and disposing of water without any apparent care. As a global society, we currently need four planets to meet our want and needs. What to do?

Apathy, lack of knowledge and understanding seems to be a significant barrier to change. One may wish to debate the science behind the predictions but there is no escaping the economic fact that doing nothing is not an option.

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