Comment by Nicholas Stern on launch of the Synthesis Report of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Posted on 2 Nov 2014 in

Commenting on the publication today of the Synthesis Report of the Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Nicholas Stern (Lord Stern of Brentford), Chair of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science, and President of the British Academy, said:

“This comprehensive report about the causes and potential consequences of climate change should be essential reading for all political leaders across the world. It makes clear that climate change is already having an impact on people and ecosystems across the globe. Without urgent and sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we will face great dangers from global warming of more than 2 centigrade degrees and the accompanying change in the climate, with rising sea levels and shifts in extreme weather patterns threatening the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people.

“This IPCC report poses an immediate challenge for the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who should end his stubborn refusal to make climate change a major agenda item for the G20 summit in Brisbane later this month. It is simply outrageous that a discussion about managing the risks of climate change, which is of fundamental importance to the future prosperity and well-being of the world’s population of 7 billion people, is being shunted to the sidelines at the most important gathering of the world’s key economies because of the local politics of a country of less than 25 million.

“This report shows that there is no real intellectual basis for denying the risks of climate change, and governments should be focused on how best to make the transition to low-carbon economic development and growth. Now is the time, with very low interest rates and unemployed resources, to invest in the growth story of future, and manage the great transformations in energy systems, urban planning and land use. We can create both better growth and a better environment, as the report of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate showed earlier this year.”

 NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. Lord Stern is chair of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, as well as I.G. Patel Professor of Economics and Government and Director of the Asia Research Centre, at London School of Economics and Political Science. Since July 2013, Lord Stern has been President of the British Academy for the humanities and social sciences. Lord Stern was Second Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury between 2003 and 2007. He also served as Head of the Government Economic Service, head of the review of economics of climate change (the results of which were published in ‘The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review’ in October 2006), and director of policy and research for the Commission for Africa. His previous posts included Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist at the World Bank, and Chief Economist and Special Counsellor to the President at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He was recommended as a non-party-political life peer by the UK House of Lords Appointments Commission in October 2007, and Baron Stern of Brentford was introduced in December 2007 to the House of Lords, where he sits on the independent cross-benches.
  2. The ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (https://www.cccep.ac.uk/) is hosted by the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics and Political Science. It is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/). The Centre’s mission is to advance public and private action on climate change through rigorous, innovative research.
  3. The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (http://www.lse.ac.uk/grantham) was launched at the London School of Economics and Political Science in October 2008. It is funded by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment (http://www.granthamfoundation.org/).