British Climate Change Study Found To Be Flawed

NCPA Expert Echoes Analysis That Sterns Review is Selective and Flawed


DALLAS (November 2, 2006) - A recent report of climate change sponsored by the British government that argued the price of inaction would be extraordinary and the cost of action modest is selective in its research and flawed in its conclusion, according to H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).  Burnett noted an analysis by acclaimed economist Bjorn Lomborg of the U.K. report shows its fear-mongering arguments have been sensationalized, which ultimately will only make the world worse off.

"The report cherry picks data to present the scariest scenario, without explaining how likely it really is," said Burnett.  "What's more, it lacks any real analysis of the likelihood that the measures they suggest will work at preventing further warming and the devastation they claim is coming."

According to an analysis by Lomborg published in the Wall Street Journal, the U.K review conducted by Nicolas Stern understates the real costs of combating climate change:

  • The International Energy Agency has estimated that the world must spend $16 trillion on infrastructure from 2001 to 2030 just to meet growing energy demand; that by itself would be 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) over that period.
  • And that doesn't include the cost of moving to carbon-free power from fossil fuels, or the financial "incentives" -- i.e., global subsidies from Western taxpayers -- that China and India would need if the Stern report's policies were to have any chance of being implemented.
  • The Stern review also calls for substantially increasing taxes, which we know from experience would also reduce global GDP and thus leave fewer resources to fight the consequences of any warming.

Lomborg also notes that the Stern report barely mentions the potential benefits from warming in the world's cold-weather regions. For example:

  • The world is large and its climate diverse. A longer growing season in Siberia or Canada is at least one possible benefit of warming.
  • The Stern report also dismisses any chance of moderate warming (meaning temperatures in 2100 only two to three degrees Celsius higher than in 1900) even though many climate models say this is in fact the most likely outcome.