April 28, 2009
The risks to the natural world, the economy, and our everyday lives from climate change, or global overheating, are immense. The way we live in the next thirty years – how we invest, use energy, organize transport, and treat forests – will determine whether these risks can be managed.
Although poor countries – the least responsible for climate change – will be hit earliest and hardest, all countries must work to reduce the risks and to adapt to the effects: hurricanes and storms strike New Orleans and Mumbai; flooding causes devastation in England and Mozambique; droughts occur in Australia and Darfur; and sea level rise will affect Florida and Bangladesh.
Nicholas Stern, author of The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change and former chief economist at the World Bank, is the world’s leading authority on what we can do in the face of such unprecedented threat. Action on climate change will require the greatest possible international collaboration, led by the U.S. and China, who are by far the world’s greatest emitters of greenhouse gases. But, if successful, such action will ensure not just our future, but our future prosperity. It will create a lasting growth which will be cleaner, quieter, more secure, and more by diverse. And it will provide the investment opportunities which will drive growth over the next two decades – just as growth was driven by new technologies such as roadways, electricity, and IT in the past. To ignore the need for action is to engage in a wildly irresponsible risk – to hope irrationally that somehow climate change will be less devastating and less expensive to remedy than all the models and scientific projections expect. That kind of a rationality lies behind the current global financial crisis. We cannot afford the vastly greater risk of ignoring the costs and consequences of global climate change.
Focusing on the economic management and investment and growth from the perspective of both adaptation a mitigation, Stern confronts the most urgent questions facing us now: What is the problem? What are the dangers? What can be done to reduce emissions, and at what cost? How can the world adapt? And what does all this mean for corporations, governments, and individuals? The Global Deal provides authoritative, inspirational, and hopeful answers.
Professor Lord Stern is the first IG Patel Chair in Economics and Government and chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics. He was advisor to the UK government on the economics of climate change and development from 2005-2007 and head of The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. He was also head of the Government Economic Service, 2005-2007; second permanent Secretary to Her Majesty’s Treasury, 2003-2005; and Director of policy and research for the prime minister’s Commission for Africa, 2004-2005. He was chief economist and senior vice president at the World Bank from 2000-2003 and chief economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development from 1994-1999. His career from 1970 to 1994 was as an academic economist, including chairs at the LSE and Warwick, and teaching and research positions at MIT, Ecole Polytechnique, the Indian Statistical Institute, and the Peoples University of China. His research and publications have focused on the economics of climate change, economic development and growth, economic theory, tax reform, public policy, and the role of the state and economies in transition.