Monday, September 10, 2012

Its academic value is zero

Paul Wheelhouse MSP
The Government consultation - and significant line of justification - for the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 was the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change.  It had been commissioned by the UK Government and was published in 2006.

Although as a media event it initially carried all before it creating an aura of academic substance, (or at least economic competence), in its role as a driver for the Climate Change Acts, it had mixed reviews from economists from soon after its publication.

Now, six years later, a further critique expands on the early criticisms.  Richard Tol, Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex says this of Stern in his foreword to  What is Wrong with Stern?:
"The Stern Review was a tactical masterstroke, but it will likely prove a strategic blunder.  Its academic value is zero."
Professor Tol is one of the authors of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report published in 2007.

This raises some uncomfortable questions about the economic credibility of Scotland's 'groundbreaking' Climate Change Act.  A headache for our new minister for Environment and Climate Change?


  1. The strange thing reading the Stern report is that for an economics report there is so little economics and that which there is, doesn't seem to have been done by Stern.

    More fundamentally, his whole argument is "the poor of today must pay, so that the rich of the future, who by all accounts will be much richer than today ... will be even richer".

    And, the other absurd idea is that tomorrow's generation would e.g. prefer that we put £1billion a year into the search for a "cure to cancer" rather than invest it at an absurdly low interest rate (1% discount) ... which makes almost any other investment you can think of from hospitals to schools, to hundreds of technology inventions look a fantastic investment.

    It's the scrooge principle. Stick all your wealth in a box of "renewables" with a misely 1% interest because you are too afraid to invest in social, economic and even environmental improvement projects because there is a small risk that a small rise in CO2 causing a small rise in temperature may have a slight impact on GDP sometime in 100 years time.

    1. Noted Mike. And the legislation we are left with is based substantially on a flawed line of reasoning.

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