The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review
‘The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review’ is a landmark study that was published on 30 October 2006. The Review concluded:
“This Review has assessed a wide range of evidence on the impacts of climate change and on the economic costs, and has used a number of different techniques to assess costs and risks. From all of these perspectives, the evidence gathered by the Review leads to a simple conclusion: the benefits of strong and early action far outweigh the economic costs of not acting.”
Its main findings included:
- there is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we take strong action now;
- climate change could have very serious impacts on growth and development;
- the costs of stabilising the climate are significant but manageable; delay would be dangerous and much more costly;
- action on climate change is required across all countries, and it need not cap the aspirations for growth of rich or poor countries;
- a range of options exists to cut emissions; strong, deliberate policy action is required to motivate their take-up; and
- climate change demands an international response, based on a shared understanding of long-term goals and agreement on frameworks for action.
The Review has become one of the most influential reports on climate change ever produced since its release by Her Majesty’s Treasury of the UK Government in October 2006. The report was published as a volume in January 2007 by Cambridge University Press.
It was led by Nicholas Stern, then Head of the UK Government Economic Service, and now Chair of both the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
The Review was announced by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, in July 2005, and was commissioned to report to the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and the Chancellor by autumn 2006, on the following issues:
- the economics of moving to a low-carbon global economy, focusing on the medium- to long-term perspective, and drawing implications for the timescales for action, and the choice of policies and institutions;
- the potential of different approaches for adaptation to changes in the climate; and
- specific lessons for the UK, in the context of its existing climate change goals.
Since its publication, Nicholas Stern and the contributors to the Review have published a number of academic papers relating to the report. In 2015, ‘Proceedings of the Royal Society: B’ published a paper by Lord Stern reflecting on the development of climate change policies during the 10 years since The Stern Review was commissioned.
On 28 October 2016, the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment will be holding an international meeting to mark the 10th anniversary of the publication of ‘The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review’.
Academic papers relating to ‘The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review’
Papers by contributors to the Review
Simon Dietz, Chris Hope, Nicholas Stern and Dimitri Zenghelis (2007). Reflections on the Stern Review (1): A robust case for strong action to reduce the risks of climate change. World Economics, volume 8, number 1, pages 121 – 168.
Lorraine Hamid, Nicholas Stern and Chris Taylor (2007). Reflections on the Stern Review (2): a growing international opportunity to move strongly on climate change. World Economics, volume 8, number 1, pages 169 – 186.
Simon Dietz, Dennis Anderson, Nicholas Stern, Chris Taylor and Dimitri Zenghelis (2007). Right for the right reasons: a final rejoinder on the Stern Review. World Economics, volume 8, number 2, pages 229 – 258.
Simon Dietz, Chris Hope and Nicola Patmore (2007). Some economics of ‘dangerous’ climate change: reflections on the Stern Review. Global Environmental Change, volume 17, issues 3–4, pages 311–325.
Simon Dietz and Nicholas Stern (2008). Why economic analysis supports strong action on climate change: a response to the Stern Review’s critics. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, volume 2, issue 1, pages 94-113.
Nicholas Stern (2008). The Economics of Climate Change. American Economic Review, volume 98, number 2, pages 1–37.
Simon Dietz and Nicholas Stern (2009). Note—on the timing of greenhouse gas emissions reductions: a final rejoinder to the symposium on “The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review and its Critics”. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, volume 3, issue 1, pages 138-140.
Other papers about the Review
Wilfred Beckerman and Cameron Hepburn (2007). Ethics of the discount rate in the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. World Economics, volume 8, number 1, pages 187 – 210.
Dennis Anderson (2007). The Stern Review and the costs of climate change mitigation: a response to the ‘Dual Critique’ and the misrepresentations of Tol and Yohe. World Economics, volume 8, number 1, pages 211 – 219.
John F. Mitchell, Julia Slingo, David S. Lee, Jason A. Lowe and Vicky Pope (2007). Response to Carter et al. World Economics, volume 8, number 1, pages 221 – 228.
Nigel Arnell, Rachel Warren and Robert Nicholls (2007). Response to ‘The Stern Review: A Dual Critique’. World Economics, volume 8, number 1, pages 229 – 231.
Andrew Glikson (2007). A response to ‘The Stern Review: A Dual Critique’. World Economics, volume 8, number 1, pages 233 – 238.
Ian Simmonds and Will Steffen (2007). Response to ‘The Stern Review: A Dual Critique—Part I: The Science’. World Economics, volume 8, number 2, pages 133 – 141.
Weitzman, Martin L. (2007). A review of The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. Journal of Economic Literature, volume 45, number 3, pages 703-724.
Geoffrey Heal (2009). The economics of climate change: a post-Stern perspective. Climatic Change, volume 96, number 3, pages 275-297.