SUSTAINABLE development is unobtainable unless there is a world shift in production and consumption, environment minister Michael Meacher said yesterday in this year's Natural Environment Research Council Lecture.
Mr Meacher warned it was a mistake to assume that sustainable development can be achieved simply by technological innovation. "We need to shift the fundamental balance of the economy from energy and materials towards labour to create a high added value economy," he said.
Politicians have to make hard decisions, he said. Pointing to a European Commission study on how countries tax jobs and the environment, Mr Meacher said taxes on labour account for more than half of all taxation. Over the long term he would like to see jobs being taxed less and environmental infringements being penalised more directly and indirectly.