Monday, October 30, 2006

Stern Report on the Economics of Climate Change

Sir Nicholas Stern's long-awaited report, commissioned by the Treasury during the UK's G8 presidency, has been released from captivity. The full document can be downloaded from here.

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/
stern_review_economics_climate_change/stern_review_report.cfm

Sir Nicholas, former Chief Economist at the World Bank, says it's a "false economy" to postpone climate change action since costs will only rise, with the impact of global warming costing as much as 20 per cent of the world's GDP.

Climate change risks raising average temperatures by over 5°C from pre-industrial levels, transforming the physical geography of our planet.

All countries will be affected by climate change and the response must be an international one - but it is the poorest countries who will suffer earliest and most.

Sir Nicholas concludes on an optimistic note:

"There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we act now and act internationally. Governments, businesses and individuals all need to work together to respond to the challenge. Strong, deliberate policy choices by governments are essential to motivate change."

Key recommendations include:

  1. Expanding and linking emissions trading schemes around the world
  2. Doubling support for energy research and setting international product standards for energy-efficiency
  3. Fully-integrating climate change adaptation into development policy, so that rich countries honour their pledges to increase support.

5 Comments:

At 1:42 pm, Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

This has been a long time coming. Can we change our practices quickly enough to limit the increasing possibility of a global environmental catastrophe?

There is little doubt in my mind that there will be some major environmental impacts upon various regions of human habitation in the next 5-10 years with areas which are densely populated now, being unable to sustain the same level of human population.

It seems that the only way our "political businessmen" will understand the potential danger of global climate change is if a $ value is attached to it. A human value won't make them bat an eye.

 
At 1:49 pm, Blogger Matt Burge said...

I'm guessing this report is rather long so probably won't read it but, I have heard plenty of discussion about it over the radio. It's an important report because it adds significantly I think to serious discussion and planning towards attempting to lessen the inpacts of climate change.

Let us remember however that Gordon Brown (the UK's equilavent of a Finance Minister or Secretary, for those that don't know him) commissioned this report. It's optimism is aimed at 'business opportunities' and therefore further consumption!

 
At 1:52 pm, Blogger Matt Burge said...

> It seems that the only way our "political businessmen" will understand the potential danger of global climate change is if a $ value is attached to it. A human value won't make them bat an eye.

Agree. Looks like we were typing the same thoughts at the same time, just at opposite ends of the world!

 
At 9:07 pm, Blogger Pete Smith said...

Matt Burge said:
"I'm guessing this report is rather long so probably won't read it"

Yes, well, at a rumoured 700 pages it is a fairly non-trivial read. But my original link offers a useful 4-page summary as well as short and long executive summaries, also each chapter can be selected individually so you can zero in on how the report addresses the latest hot topic. What they haven't supplied is an index.

 
At 7:48 pm, Blogger Matt Burge said...

Pete, I read the summary given in The Independent on the Stern report. It is clear that overall the point is to bring in a respected heavyweight within the business world to wake the moneymakers up to the impacts of climate change on their balance sheets. Good idea. Well done Mr Brown. Well done the UK. Once Bush has had his arse kicked in the mid-term elections we might begin to see some light at the end of a very long policy tunnel. But as we all know we need action from govt and business, not hot air!

 

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