NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 19, 2007

Sir Nicholas Stern's controversial October 2006 report -- sponsored by British Chancellor Gordon Brown -- which purported to show the future harm from human-induced global warming has received a great deal of attention and criticism from economists, says H. Sterling Burnett, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).

Among the discrepancies pointed out by economists:

  • The report assumed a 60 percent higher growth rate in global population than expected by international demographers.
  • It also assumed income growth rates that would be less than half the present rate.
  • Stern used inconsistent and arguably absurd discount rates that substantially underestimate the costs of cutting carbon emissions while simultaneously using a higher discount rate when calculating the benefits of immediate action.

In addition, the report ignores measures that would help people adapt to warmer temperatures, says Burnett.  In an NCPA report, Indur Goklany exposed flaws in assertions by Stern and others:

  • Goklany pointed out that absent any efforts to tackle malaria in other ways, global warming is projected to increase global malaria rates by 3 percent.
  • By contrast, investing $1.5 billion annually -- just a minuscule fraction of the costs of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to the extent required by the Kyoto Protocol -- in malaria prevention and treatment today would cut the annual malaria toll in half.
  • Concerning hunger, Goklany observed, while the Kyoto Protocol would likely reduce the number of people facing hunger by less than 2 percent, investing an additional $5 billion annually to solve agricultural problems would cut by 50 percent the number of people at risk of hunger.

Source: H. Sterling Burnett, "Climate Alarmist Quits British Government," Environmental News, Heartland Institute, March 1, 2007.

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