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The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review

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Stern review

The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change is a 700-page report released on October 30, 2006 by economist Lord Stern of Brentford for the British government, which discusses the effect of climate change and global warming on the world economy. Although not the first economic report on global warming, it is significant as the largest and most widely known and discussed report of its kind.

Its main conclusions are that one percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) per annum is required to be invested in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change, and that failure to do so could risk global GDP being up to twenty percent lower than it otherwise might be. Stern’s report suggests that [climate] change threatens to be the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen, and it provides prescriptions including environmental taxes to minimize the economic and social disruptions. He states, "our actions over the coming few decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century." In June 2008 Stern increased the estimate to 2% of GNP to account for faster than expected climate change.

The Stern Review has been criticized by some economists, saying that Stern did not consider costs past 2200, that he used an incorrect discount rate in his calculations, and that stopping or significantly slowing climate change will require deep emission cuts everywhere. Other economists have supported Stern's approach,or argued that Stern's conclusions are reasonable, even if the method by which he reached them is open to criticism.

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