March 14, 2009 The stern report was the second most important report after the IPCC 3rd Assessment in 2001 and likely the most important political report on climate change ever written. It was commissioned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and was published in the middle of the Bush reign It could not have made less difference in the U.S.
More than 2,000 climate experts from 70 countries met at the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen where Sterns spoke. He said there is "no excuse" for government leaders failing to act on the climate crisis. He threatened that a failure to develop strong carbon reduction targets in December could bring "abrupt or irreversible" shifts in climate that "will be very difficult for contemporary societies to cope with."
Lord Stern was the Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank from 2000 to 2003, permanent secretary at Her Majesty’s Treasury and head of the the umbrella group for British Government Economic, the Government Economic Service. He was a Professor of Economics Oxford University, University of Warwick, London School of Economics, and the Chief Economist and Special Counsellor to the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (and more…)
He spoke at the Copenhagen conference yesterday and told the assembled scientists and dignitaries that the situation was worse than he had thought when he completed his review two-and-a-half years ago, and politicians do not yet grasp the scale of the dangers now becoming apparent.
"A rise of 5C (9 degrees Fahrenheit) would be a temperature the world has not seen for 30 to 50 million years. We’ve been around only 100,000 years as human beings. We don’t know what that’s like… Do politicians understand just how difficult it could be, just how devastating rises of 4C, 5C or 6C (7.2 to 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) could be? I think, not yet."
Lord Stern said that the most recent discoveries show "severe risks" if Earth’s temperature rise by the predicted 4C to 7C (12.6 F) by 2100. Agriculture would be destroyed and life would be impossible over much of the planet, the former World Bank chief economist said.
"Much of southern Europe would look like the Sahara. Many of the major rivers of the world, serving billions of people, would dry up in the dry seasons or re-route. Billions of people would have to relocate as a result… What would be the implication of that? Extended conflict, social disruption, war essentially, over much of the world, for many decades… This is the kind of implication that follows from temperature increases of that magnitude. I think it’s vital that people understand the magnitude of the risks, but also that they understand that [by cutting emissions] we can reduce the probability of going there very dramatically…"
Changes from 2006:
Temperature rise by 2100: Old Report 3.6 to 5.4 F New Report 7.2 to 12.6 F.
Cost if we do nothing: Old Report 20% of World GDP, New – 30% of World GDP.