Home > Energy Issues > The Stern Report

The Stern Report

By: Kelly Fenn - Updated: 4 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Stern Report Climate Change Energy Uk

It’s been impossible to avoid the green debate in the media and political arena – the world it seems, is waking up to the very real dangers and consequences of climate change. One particular report from economist Nicholas Stern in November 2006 offered an alternative and vitally important twist to the debate.

The Stern Report put the effects of climate change into hard monetary terms, estimating how much it would cost to tackle climate change now, or how much the bill would be if we continue as we are and do not change our ways. Since the report was published, many of us have woken up to the harsh prognosis that changes in the climate and temperature could pose.Stern’s Key Findings:

  1. Greenhouse Gases Have Risen at an Unprecedented Level

    Since the Industrial Revolution, levels of CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases have been significantly rising – and human activity is the main culprit for causing the rise. Left unchecked, this rise in greenhouse gases would almost certainly continue and lead to an increase in global temperatures

  2. Temperatures are Rising

    Greenhouse gases are contributing towards the global change in temperatures. Stern estimates that, if unchecked, temperatures could rise by 5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Though this sounds fairly small, the impact of such a rise is significant. Even a two degree rise equates to a situation where up to 40% of animal species would face extinction. An increase of three or four degrees could result in many millions more people being flooded. By the middle of the century 200 million may be permanently displaced due to rising sea levels, heavier floods and drought.

  3. Changes to Climate

    As temperatures rise, so will more extreme weather conditions, according to Stern. Weather will become more unpredictable and seasons less defined. Both drought and flooding are more likely, and with wider effects. In the arctic extremities, the polar ice caps are melting, consequently leading to a global increase in sea levels. Meanwhile, the increase in global temperature is promoting more extreme weather such as hurricanes and storms.

  4. The Economics

    So, how does Stern give these hard-hitting and wide-ranging changes into an economic argument? As he puts it: “The benefits of strong, early action considerably outweigh the costs.” Unabated, climate change could cost the world at least five per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year; at worst case scenario, this could increase to over 20% of GDP. In contrast, Stern estimates that the cost of reducing emissions to a level that could help combat the long term effects of climate change would be just one per cent of global GDP. Creating a low-carbon economy could indeed eventually benefit the world economy by two-and-half trillion dollars a year.

The Future?

Stern argues that because of the damage that’s already been done, what we do now to combat it will have only a limited effect on climate change in the first half of the century – but that the next 10-20 years is crucial in changing the path of climate change in the second half of the century.

Crucially, it’s the danger of not acting at all that’s paramount. Reflecting on the report, Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “This disaster is not set to happen in some science fiction future many years ahead, but in our lifetime. Investment now will pay us back many times in the future, not just environmentally but economically as well. For every £1 invested now we can save £5, or possibly more, by acting now.”

As a result of the Stern Report’s findings, the government is working with the World Bank to fund projects to fight climate change worldwide, and the Climate Change Bill is establishing statutory commitments to reducing the UK’s carbon emissions by 60% by 2050.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Zal
    Re: Getting Grants From Your Council
    Hi I'm on a low income under £800 before deductions a month. A single occupant homeowner with no dependant…
    24 October 2020
  • Ga131078
    Re: Getting Grants From Your Council
    Hi is there anyway of getting grants for doors and windows as I am classed as being disabled as my double glazed windows and…
    23 October 2020
  • BO PEEP
    Re: Getting Grants From Your Council
    WE OWN OUR PROPERTY. I AM 75 MY HUSBAND IS 80. OUR FRONT DOOR IS LEAKING AND THE WIND COMES THROUGH. WOULD WE BE ENTITLED TO…
    21 October 2020
  • Babs
    Re: Getting Grants From Your Council
    My double glazed windows are 29 years old. They no longer do what they are meant to full of drafts and condensation between…
    21 October 2020
  • oxoman
    Re: Getting Grants From Your Council
    My Double glazing is now over 25 years old and the glazed units are misting up, I would think they have lost their insulating…
    15 October 2020
  • Sobia
    Re: Getting Grants From Your Council
    My windows are old all drought comes in home does not stay warm for long I’ve got 3 children younger 1 is 6 am I entitled to…
    12 October 2020
  • Carter
    Re: Getting Grants From Your Council
    My window are old and they leak I’m disable and my home is so draughty and damp though the windows
    9 October 2020
  • buddyboy
    Re: Getting Grants From Your Council
    I am ninety and my wife is 85 . I suffer with diabetes and my wife has emphysema. The windows are very draughty, some window…
    6 October 2020
  • Shaky
    Re: Getting Grants From Your Council
    Hi I am I need of new windows as the ones I got are old and really no good can I get a grant for this and if so where do I apply
    5 October 2020
  • D.T
    Re: Getting Grants From Your Council
    Hi my double glazing has failed, i have been told my windows mist up like there is dump in between the glass, also i have…
    5 October 2020