Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Critiques of Stern

An edition of The Investigation broadcast on Radio 4 on 25 Jan (and archived here) raises what sound like some useful questions about the Stern Review on the economics of climate change. Why, for example, did Stern use the IPCC A2 scenario rather than A1B (as William Connolly of BAAS and points out)?

I still need to think about this more carefully; but my impression is that notwithstanding the fact that many of the criticisms have been regarding economic methodology and the uses to which it has been put by Stern, a if not the most important difference of opinion is not actually about economics but a meta-economic question concerning ethics -- especially what Stern and some others take to be a non-negligible chance that the costs of climate change on business as usual will be literally uncontainable: a 5% chance, say, of virtually infinite costs within a two or so human generations.

It would be great to hear a clearer view on this.

No comments: