Nicholas Stern and Sam Fankhauser respond to publication of new climate change report

Posted on 31 Mar 2014 in

Commenting on the publication of the ‘Summary for Policymakers’ of the contribution of Working Group II on ‘Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’ to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Professor 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: “This comprehensive report lays out very clearly the evidence that climate change is already having many impacts across the world, including effects on human deaths from extremely hot or cold weather, crop yields, the availability of water from shrinking glaciers, and the distribution of plant and animal species. These are all happening after less than 1 centigrade degree of global warming. While people in all countries will need to make themselves more resilient to those impacts that cannot now be avoided over the next few decades, the potential risks from unmitigated climate change towards the end of this century and into the next will be very severe, particularly if global warming exceeds 2 centigrade degrees. The report warns that, during this century, climate change will increase the risk of human populations being displaced to escape shifts in extreme weather, such as floods and droughts, as well as relatively slow-onset impacts, such as desertification and sea level rise. This report presents a stark case for sharply reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to avoid potentially catastrophic impacts, such as the irreversible melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the resultant rise in sea level, to which we will not be able to make ourselves fully resilient and which lie outside the evolutionary experience of modern Homo sapiens.”

Professor Sam Fankhauser, who was a contributing author to the IPCC report and who is Co-Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Co-Deputy Director of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said: “The report documents how countries are already making themselves more resilient to the impacts of climate change, but much more needs to be done. In the UK and the rest of northern Europe, we will need to cope with increasing risks from coastal and inland flooding, heat waves and droughts. The UK and all rich countries must also provide significant support to help poor countries, which are particularly vulnerable, to cope with the impacts of climate change.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. Lord Stern is also 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/).