The Corner

Stern Words

Economists are lining up to pour cold water on the economic assumptions of Sir Nicholas Stern in his disingenuous review (one further example: he says sea level rise will reach serious levels in centuries to millennia, yet still includes $2 trillion of costs from 5m of sea level rise before 2200, which just won’t happen).

Yet, in the UK, the only political party brave enough to criticize the report was the UK Independence Party, whose leader, Nigel Farage, said:

Every politician in the world is busy jumping on the ‘green’ bandwagon, while the general public ends up paying for it.

Not all Conservatives have given up, however.  Mrs Thatcher’s most successful Chancellor (Treasury Secretary), Nigel Lawson, has a sound response here.  In it, he compares Blair’s latest spinning to the disastrous spinning of the “dodgy dossier” before the Iraq War that led to so much trouble there and here:

In fact, the voluminous Stern Report adds disappointingly little to what was already the conventional wisdom – apart from a battery of essentially spurious statistics based on theoretical models and conjectural worst cases. This is clearly no basis for policy decisions which could have the most profound adverse effect on people’s lives, and at a cost which Stern almost certainly underestimates. It is, in a very real sense, the story of the Iraq war, writ large.

The Stern review, is however, being circulated in Congress with the following admonition by Reps Gilchrest and Olver:

We would like to draw your attention to an article from yesterday’s Washington Post about the release of a study on the economics of climate change by Nicholas Stern, who heads Britain’s Government Economic Service and formerly served as the World Bank’s chief economist.  In the study, Stern concludes that failing to act to significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases will be more costly than taking such action.  Stern estimates that failure to act will cost, internationally, the equivalent of losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever.  In addition, the report recommends priorities for international policy development that parallels the concepts supported by the Climate Stewardship Act, HR 759. Attached please find the Washington Post article and a brief summary of the Stern report.

Of course, the Climate Stewardship Act, or the McCain-Lieberman Bill as it is more widely known, does not go nearly as far as Stern would have us go.

Meanwhile, Phillippe Sands reveals the true intent of Stern, writing for The Guardian:

It is time for the EU and other industrialised nations to put the US and Australia on notice: if they fail to act in the next 12 to 18 months they should expect products and goods that are produced in a climate unfriendly way to be subject to trade restrictions.

Essentially, Stern is the first shot in a climate trade war.  Anyone who fails to realise that clearly hasn’t been paying attention.

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