Comment by Nicholas Stern on new regulations to limit emissions from power plants in the United States

Posted on 2 Jun 2014 in

Commenting on the announcement today by the United States Environmental Protection Agency of new plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, Nicholas Stern, 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: “These new plans should help the United States to achieve its target of reducing annual emissions of greenhouse gases from all sources by 17 per cent by 2020 compared with 2005. This represents real leadership both by Gina McCarthy, the head of the EPA, and President Obama, who have shown their determination not to let deadlock in Congress prevent progress by the world’s leading economy in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change. It underscores the role that both regulation and carbon pricing have to play in reducing emissions. This welcome news also means that the largest sources of emissions, China, the United States and the European Union, are all approximately on track to meet the targets that they agreed to at the United Nations climate change summit in Cancùn in 2010. However, as the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made clear, the United States, China and European Union all need to increase the ambition of their emissions cuts to be consistent with the overall goal of delivering a reasonable chance of avoiding dangerous global warming of more than 2 centigrade degrees above pre-industrial levels. These plans should put pressure on European leaders to stop dithering over their plans and to commit to strong cuts of 40 per cent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. It is strong policy that can foster the investment and innovation that will drive the new story of low-carbon growth.”

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/).