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Last Updated: Monday, 30 October 2006, 13:55 GMT
Expert reaction to Stern review
The sun shining through some trees
Ignoring global warming would be economic suicide, the report warns
Scientists, politicians and economists have been giving their reactions to the report by Sir Nicholas Stern.

The former World Bank chief economist has warned that global warming could shrink the global economy by 20%.

However, taking steps now could limit the damage to the world economy to 1% of total gross domestic product (GDP).

UK prime minister Tony Blair backed the report, while Chancellor Gordon Brown said the UK would lead and coordinate attempts to tackle climate change.

PROF BILL MCGUIRE, BENFIELD UCL HAZARD RESEARCH CENTRE

The scariest thing about the Stern report is that it may not be scary enough.

If we lose the Greenland ice sheet in the next few centuries, leading to a 7 metre rise in sea level - as well we might - then Stern's 3.68 trillion will be a drop in the ocean compared to the ultimate cost of climate change.

MARTIN LIVERMORE, SCIENTIFIC ALLIANCE

Evidence is building that climate is not driven primarily by human use of fossil fuels, as most people have been led to believe.

There have been significant temperature changes during the last millennium, well before industrialisation.

And the major influence of fluctuations in cosmic rays from the sun have been under-represented in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The billions which this review says it is necessary to spend are likely to have little positive effect, and could be put to much better use in helping the world's poorest people to create better lives for themselves.

PIA HANSEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION SPOKESWOMAN

The Commission welcomes Sir Nicholas Stern's review. It clearly makes a case for action, and climate change is not a problem that Europe can afford to put into the 'too difficult' pile.

It is not an option to wait and see, and we must act now.

SIMON RETALLACK, UK THINK TANK IPPR

The only problem is the report proposes a long-term goal to stabilise climate change that has a very high chance of exceeding the 2 degrees Celsius-rise in temperature, which the European Union and UK is committed to avoiding.

It changes the terms of the international debate on climate change.

Above all, it removes the last refuge of the "do-nothing" approach on climate change, particularly in the US.

Those who deny climate change have already been smoked out on the science; this report smokes them out on the economics.

Now they have nowhere left to hide.

BERNARD BULKIN, UK SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

I think there are a lot of people in the US that will pick this up.

We think of the US as being represented by the federal government who has been against action, but look at what has been going on in many of the states, such as California and New York.

We will also see people in places like China that will pick this up as well and use it to promote cleaner development in the nation.

TOM DELAY, CARBON TRUST

This report nails the myth propagated by climate sceptics that tackling climate change is bad for the economy and a hopeless cause.

In fact it represents a huge opportunity for business.

RICHARD LAMBERT, CBI DIRECTOR GENERAL

Provided we act with sufficient speed, we will not have to make a choice between averting climate change and promoting growth and investment.

This will require an international partnership between the public and private sectors, working alongside civil society and with individuals.

A global system of carbon trading is urgently needed as the nucleus around which the worldwide action needed can be built in the most economically efficient way.

CHARLIE KRONICK, GREENPEACE

This report is the final piece in the jigsaw. There are no more excuses left, no more smokescreens to hide behind, now everybody has to back action to slash emissions, regardless of party or ideology.

Stern says we need to spend 1% of GDP on climate change. That's the same amount of money we spend on global advertising.

The government has to be congratulated for commissioning this report, but emissions of carbon dioxide have gone up under Labour.

So far the science hasn't made ministers act, but we hope the bottom line will.

There are so many things the government could do today, like investing in efficient decentralised power stations or tackling the growth of aviation. Tony Blair's successor has to face this challenge and deliver the goods.

PROF NEIL ADGER, UEC AND THE TYNDALL CENTRE

The economics of Nicholas Stern is not the 'dismal science' of standard economics.

The Review shows with clarity and vision how climate change can be tackled head on by governments using clear goals and sustained investment, and by harnessing ingenuity and technology.

It demonstrates, using the economic language loved by Exchequers, that climate change is a moral policy issue where the countries of the world are completely interdependent but with different responsibilities for action.

PROF MICHAEL GRUBB, IMPERIAL COLLEGE/CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY

The Stern Review finally closes a chasm that has existed for 15 years between the precautionary concerns of scientists, and the cost-benefit views of many economists.

Stern concludes that the problem is indeed massive and urgent - but that it can be solved.

The most encouraging feature is its conclusion that the problem can be solved by building upon the existing foundations of emissions trading and the Kyoto Protocol, combined with strengthened attention to the other pillars of behaviour, efficiency and technological innovation.


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