Nicholas Stern welcomes the Pope’s encyclical on the environment as being of ‘enormous significance’

Posted on 18 Jun 2015 in

Responding to the publication today of the encyclical letter by Pope Francis on ‘Care for Our Common Home’, Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair of 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:

“The publication of the Pope’s encyclical is of enormous significance. He has shown great wisdom and leadership. Pope Francis is surely absolutely right that climate change raises vital moral and ethical issues. It is poor people around the world who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as an intensification of extreme weather events. And the decisions that we make about managing the risks of climate change matter not only for us, but also for our children, grandchildren and future generations.

“We can and should be choosing paths of economic development and growth that are sustainable and promote well-being and prosperity. Such paths are likely to be highly attractive in both poor and rich countries, providing a much cleaner, less polluted, more inclusive, dynamic and stronger route to overcoming poverty and raising living standards. High-carbon economic growth harms us not just through the impacts of climate change, but also through a host of other problems, such as depletion of biodiversity, loss of forests and greater local air pollution. That air pollution is killing millions now.

“Moral leadership on climate change from the Pope is particularly important because of the failure of many heads of state and government around the world to show political leadership. I hope other religious and community leaders will also speak out about how to tackle the two defining challenges of our generation, namely overcoming poverty and managing the risks of climate change. This would encourage greater political leadership in the run-up to the summit in Paris at the end of this year where countries should reach a new international agreement on tackling climate change.

“We, our children and our grandchildren owe the Pope a great debt of gratitude for his encyclical. It is founded in the best science and shows the importance of ethics in public life. The economics of climate change also tells us how attractive the transition to the low-carbon economy will be.”

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. Lord Stern is chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and 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. Baron Stern of Brentford was introduced in December 2007 to the House of Lords, where he sits on the independent cross-benches. He was recommended as a non-party-political life peer by the UK House of Lords Appointments Commission in October 2007.
  1. 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.
  1. 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/).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.