Reflections on the Stern Review (1): A Robust Case for Strong Action to Reduce the Risks of Climate Change

World Economics, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 121-168, 2007

Posted: 21 Apr 2007

See all articles by Simon Dietz

Simon Dietz

London School of Economics - Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Department of Geography and Environment

Christopher Hope

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School

Nicholas Stern

Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change

Dimitri A. Zenghelis

Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change

Abstract

Those who deny the importance of strong and urgent action on climate change essentially offer one of, or a combination of, the following arguments. First, there are those who deny the scientific link between human activities and global warming; most people, and the vast majority of scientists, would find that untenable given the weight of evidence. Second, there are those who, while accepting the science of anthropogenic climate change, argue that the human species is very adaptable and can make itself comfortable whatever the climatic consequences; given the scale of the outcomes that we now have to regard as possible or likely under business-as-usual (BAU), this must be regarded as reckless. Finally, there are those who accept the science of climate change and the likelihood that it will inflict heavy costs, but simply do not care much for what happens in the future beyond the next few decades; most would regard this as unethical. This paper deals primarily with the latter two arguments. An appendix addresses confusions and misconceptions about The Stern Review and responds to points made by critics in previous issues of this journal and elsewhere.

Keywords: Climate change, discount rate, stabilization, integrated assessment, mitigation, adaptation, social cost of carbon

JEL Classification: A11, Q20, Q40

Suggested Citation

Dietz, Simon and Hope, Christopher and Stern, Nicholas and Zenghelis, Dimitri A., Reflections on the Stern Review (1): A Robust Case for Strong Action to Reduce the Risks of Climate Change. World Economics, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 121-168, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=981693

Simon Dietz (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Department of Geography and Environment ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/dietzs

Christopher Hope

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1223 338194 (Phone)
+44 (0) 1223 339701 (Fax)

Nicholas Stern

Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change

HM Treasury
1 Horse Guards Road
London SW1A 2HQ
United Kingdom

Dimitri A. Zenghelis

Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change ( email )

HM Treasury
1 Horse Guards Road
London SW1A 2HQ
United Kingdom

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