It seems to be open season on pre-posts on the Stern Review, so I’ll pick some bits out of the Beebs coverage. To start with:
Even worse, these costs will not be shared evenly. There will be a disproportionate burden on the poorest countries.
I’m sure this is meant to make us all feel guilty. But I can’t help suspecting that some people will happily say “oh good, not on me…”. And at the end we have there is a strong moral obligation on the richer countries… so we’re doomed. But on to his estimates… Having fed the probabilities of the various different degrees of global warming into his economic model, he estimates that “business as usual” would lead to a permanent reduction in global per-capita consumption of at least 5%… if we do nothing to stem climate change, there could be a permanent reduction in consumption per head of 20%. In other words, everyone in the world would be a fifth poorer than they would otherwise have been. Consumption, clearly, is the same thing as wealth :-( But will the 20% figure stand up to scrutiny?
But suppose we believe the estimates… what is the best way to correct the grotesque market failure that is currently taking us on a path to poverty. And then Stern (or is it the BBC? rather hard to tell) go on to propose taxation, or carbon rationing. This appears to cast the process in the context of any one country – it doesn’t address the more fundamental problem of getting the US, China and India on board.