Statement by Nicholas Stern on President Obama’s speech on climate change

Posted on 26 Jun 2013 in

Welcoming the major speech by President Obama on climate change today, Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science, said:

“President Obama’s speech was very clear on the scale of dangers posed by climate change and the responsibility of the United States and other countries to act. Recent experience shows that the United States can cut emissions and grow. The United States, with its technology and entrepreneurship, can lead this new low-carbon growth story. The President was right to place great emphasis on standards for cleaner power plants, accelerating renewables, energy efficiency standards in buildings, vehicles and appliances, and the importance of leadership by the public sector in implementing these standards. The President recognised as well the role of natural gas, but also saw it in a medium-term role and as bridge to cleaner technologies.

“There are will be new jobs in the United States in cleaner and more efficient technologies, and investment opportunities round the world. The low-carbon economy can create enormous potential growth for the private sector in the United States, and around the world.

“I am glad that President Obama emphasised the need for free trade in clean goods and services, and acknowledged the benefits of collaborating with China on phasing out HFCs. China and the United States can and should both go further in tackling climate change, for instance by increasing energy efficiency, and phasing out coal. China has been moving very strongly on this issue both in its current five-year plan and in preparations for the 13th five-year plan. There would be tremendous benefits if China and the United States could together show real international leadership on this issue. And it is time for Europe to stop hesitating and once again position itself at the forefront of global efforts.

“I welcome the President’s emphasis on help for developing countries to avoid the mistakes made by the rich industrial countries, including by sharing technologies and trying to find alternatives to coal. He is right to place an emphasis on finding ways to work together internationally and to reach an agreement between all countries at the United Nations climate change summit in Paris in 2015.

“I am glad that the President chose to close his speech with an appeal to young people to make the case and to press politicians for action. Our generation will be judged by the inheritance we leave.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Nicholas Stern was Second Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury of the UK Government 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. Baron Stern of Brentford was introduced in December 2007 to the House of Lords, where he sits on the independent cross-benches.
  2. Lord Stern is Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, which 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. Lord Stern is also Chair of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, which is hosted by the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is also Director of the India Observatory and the Asia Research Centre at London School of Economics and Political Science.