London, 4 September: As the cost of government measures to combat climate change hit households and businesses, a new study published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation casts grave doubts on the validity of the “Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change” which the government relies on to justify its policies.
The substantial study, by Peter Lilley MP, is the most thorough analysis of the Stern Review so far undertaken. It takes the IPCC’s view of the science of global warming as given, but points out that Stern’s economic conclusions contradict the views of most of the world’s leading environmental economists and even the economic conclusions of the IPCC itself. The study also catalogues a series of errors and distortions in the Stern Review “any one of which would have caused it to fail peer review”.
Because Stern’s conclusions endorsed policies adopted by both government and opposition and its highly tendentious assumptions were not explicit, it was initially accepted without public scrutiny.
The new study shows the Stern Review to depend critically on “selective choice of facts, unusual economic assumptions and a propagandist narrative – which would never have passed peer review”.
Describing it as “policy based evidence”, Peter Lilley argues the government can no longer rely on it to justify expenditure of many billions of pounds and calls for a return return instead to “evidence based policies”.
Stern’s central conclusion that “If we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year now and forever” whereas “the costs of action – reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – can be limited to around 1% of GDP each year” is found to be entirely fallacious.