Talk:Stern Review

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What an excellent name for this: one I can see producing many wonderful puns for future generations. "A Stern Review of the facts", etc. -- 17:06, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Economist as author[edit]

The extent to which many news sources have suggested that this makes the report more compelling is interesting, and may demonstrate something about the relative trust assigned by members of the public and the media to economists and scientists respectively. Is it appropriate to mention that in the article?

--Ilnyckyj 02:54, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

May be editorializing a bit, though I certainly agree with your assessment. I don't know why an economist has any business issuing a report on global warming -- any more than a meteorologist should be issuing a report on the stock market. --The Great Zo 04:15, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Because global warming has massive economic implications. Because he can show that the cost of prevention is much less than cost of adaptation to it. Because he can estimate the optimal level of expenditure on mitigation. Blaise 23:27, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
Is there something new here? The IPCC has been issuing economic studies for years, and climate studies using statistics without statisticians. (SEWilco 05:30, 31 October 2006 (UTC))
funily enough there's an overlap in the mathematics of meteorology and the stockmarket-- 08:16, 31 October 2006 (UTC) - Yes, indeed, both are chaotic! Fenton Robb 22:42, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
The important thing when communicating with economists and politicians is to put a price on something. 09:04, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
Since the report is about the response to global warming, not global warming per se, your complaints have no merit. If an economist can't comment on this kind of impact, then exactly who can? mdf 13:21, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
Well the media has said that it's an economist rather then a scientist which is what makes it different. We can at least report this even if we probably can't go in to details about how this demonstrates a relative leve of trust. BTW, it's not so much about an economist not being allowed to comment on the response of global warming but whether scientists who have been saying that the catostrophic effects of global warming and what we need to do about it. While they may not have been able to analyse the economic side that well, they have arguably still been providing a compelling argument of what we need to do and why we need to do it. Anyway this is all a bit too OT Nil Einne 20:06, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
Maybe it has something to do with the 20% of Global GDP/GNP price tag. SolitaryWolf 05:44, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

I cut , the Stern Review is one of the first major government-sponsored reports on global warming conducted by an economist and not an atmospheric scientist.[1]. Its sort-of true, but its a confusion, and liable to confuse readers. Firstly (and somewhat trivially) if its "one of the first" then which are the others? But more, this report is about the *economics* of climate change. It has little to say about the science (errm, other than exaggerating a bit). Its not at all comparable to, say, the IPCC reports.

It needs to be put into historical context and given significance. As it reads now it is just a report about economics and not science, which is true, but doesn't say much. The wording can be modified, but the reports historical context and its larger significance needs to framed somehow. -- Stbalbach 16:09, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Odd sentence[edit]

the Stern Review is historically notable as being one of the first major government-sponsored reports on global warming conducted by an economist and not an atmospheric scientist.[1]

First off, the report is only a day old, so the use of the word "historically" seems inappropriate. Even "notable" seems off the mark, since it may well be (given the attention span of your typical human specimen) entirely forgotten in a month. The last clause, however, can be interpreted as a hint that the likes of Stern are not to be trusted on these matters, yada yada (see above commentary). I'll note that just looking over the table of contents, Stern is focusing solely on the economic impact, having little to say about the physics of the situation. mdf 13:21, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

This is sourced. Read the source on what it says specifically if you want to change the wording of it. As an encyclopedia it is important to put things in context, not just bare naked facts - context and importance and notability of a subject is what an encyclopedia is about. -- Stbalbach 14:27, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
I completely agree. However, given the report is now about 36 hours old, I suggest that it isn't possible to assess its "importance", "notability" or make remarks about "historic" stuff at this time, regardless of any amount of commentary it has received. Basically, hours != years. Subsequent reports or events may shrink this report to insignificance; a previous report by Stern has suffered this fate already (through no fault of his own). As for the "sourced" stuff, it says nothing about "historically notable" or similar. It simply says that the idea of getting an economist to look into the economic impact of global warming was, somewhow, a unique, ground-breaking, forehead-smacking aha! innovation. Something like having a car mechanic comment on that odd noise from your engine, as opposed to asking a hair dresser about it. Unfortunately for this thesis, there is a decade+ of research about this. Just google up "economic impact of global warming economist" (no quotes). mdf 14:57, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't agree about the notability part. If it is really forgotten in a month which I highly doubt, we would have to at least comment on how noteable it was at the time of it's release so there's nothing wrong with commenting on it's level of notability at the moment. I agree we probably can't talk about historic and perhaps not even of importance at the current time Nil Einne 20:11, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure how saying first major government-sponsored reports on global warming conducted by an economist is going to change in the future. Historic notability is about the past not the future. As for economics of global warming, it does qualify by saying first major government-sponsored report - the wording could be changed, but obviously this is different and more significant from previous reports. I'm sure there are other opinions on the reports significance, if you want it could be possible to start a section documenting commentaries which might be interesting. -- Stbalbach 20:21, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Though I assume it is strictly true that this is one of the first major government-sponsored reports on global warming conducted by an economist and not an atmospheric scientist, this rather contorted phrase seems to give the fact too much weight and imply that there is something very innovative about this report. In reality there have been other such government-sponsored reports; for example, the Copenhagen Consensus which considered global warming in depth (inter alia) was sponsored by the Danish government and conducted a panel of Nobel laureates & other leading economists. Also I wonder whether the Stern review mainly seems notable in the UK only, whose politicians & media have given it a great deal of attention as it was written for the UK government. Ben Finn 17:57, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with the latest wording, which I have cut to here:

Although not the first economic report on global warming, it is significant as the largest and most widely known and discussed report of its kind.[2]

The claim that it is 'the largest and most widely known and discussed report of its kind' seems highly questionable - this may be so within the UK but that is not worth saying. The citation given for the claim is a UK web site I have never heard of (The First Post) - not really a decent source. Ben Finn 00:01, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

It's common knowledge this report is significant. Something needs to be said to that effect. I'm not sure attacking the source is the right approach because I can find other sources that give some mention of its importance, in different wording. It will always be subjective. But I really don't see anyone disagreeing with the core idea, in whatever way it needs to be phrased. It places the report into historical context and significance, which is what Encyclopedia's are supposed to do. -- Stbalbach 18:33, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Cleanup and current events tag[edit]

Removed the cleanup tag. Please detail what the problem is.

Removed the current events tag - article and story no longer changing rapidly, main facts are in place.

--Stbalbach 14:29, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Summary of Review's main conclusions[edit]

I have added a section called 'summary of the Review's main conclusions' (or something similar). I added it because the article is called 'The Stern Review' but very little of the article actually explains what the Stern Review contains. It seemed to be more of an article on 'Responses to the Stern Review'. Alanadexter (talk) 23:43, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Response and critisism[edit]

Is their a reason why the cririsism gets about as much space as the responses? The way it stands now, it looks as if the Review is not accepted as a valid, scientificly based review, by a good portion of the scientific community. I do not believe this is true. If we're going to leave in the critisisms, can I put in page after page of responses that are positive on the review ? Well I think I'll considerably add to it anyhow, don't feel in the mood at the moment though. Regards Sean Heron 17:05, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

The Stern Review is not scientific. It is economic (and political). Stern accepts the scientific consensus as the basis of his discussion of the economic issues. wycombe 02:42, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Economics is considered a science (see fields of science), they approached the report in a scientific manner, according to the best practices of economic science. It may not be a natural science, but then, would you want a biologist as your banker? -- Stbalbach 04:40, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Please may I draw to your attention a letter to Telegraph by Prof Paul Reiter, Institut Pasteur, Paris which includes "…. a glance at the professional literature on glaciers, hurricanes etc. confirms that this consensus is a myth. Besides, consensus is the stuff of politics, not of science. ... I am reminded of Trofim Lysenko ... A genuine concern for mankind demands the inquiry, accuracy and scepticism that are intrinsic to science. A public that is unaware of this is vulnerable to abuse. [1]

An example of how scientists who dissent from the ‘official’ global warming account is to be found at [2]

I understand that the NPOV policy of Wikipedia is to offer an even-handed account, so, in the light of your threat, I shall not post any more reactions, either positive or negative, unless and until you undertake not to destroy this article in the way you propose.

Fenton Robb 20:14, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to suggest that this page avoids re-fighting the global warming wars. We have scientific opinion on climate change if you want to do that. However, as far as I can see the section is fairly accurate: those in favour have accepted it uncritically; those against have reverted to type and gone off on the usual anti-IPCC rant. What seems to be largely missing is the valid middle ground criticism that the review has picked high-end climate scenarios and high-end sensitivities and high-end impacts. Possibly these are too subtle for the mass media :-). But as usual there is more intelligent info on the blogs (ahem). So: [3] and [4] (those are both me). [5] Tim Worstall on the economics; [6] James Annan on the science; [7] Roger Pielke on the hurricane damage. Alas these are all but blogs and therefore clearly not as reliable as newspapers :-( William M. Connolley 17:33, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Umbelivable that such a highly questionable rendition of a serious work (the Stern report)is not flagged as a controversial article. The larger space given to dubious "skeptics", vs the very limited positive responses (virtually only responses from the report sponsors and connected groups in the UK)falls only short of a blattant bias. It appears clear that the article was written by someone living in the USA environmental titanic, where companies like Exxon fund "skeptic" think tanks to undermine in the midia the first ever consensus in the scientific community, not a minor event, one that was the only logical result from tsunamis upon tsunamis of observational, experimental, modeling and theoretical evidences(if you have doubts, type in the string "global warming evidences"). This consensus had a clear leadership: extensive and serious work developed by the American scientific powerhouse. Surprisingly, most of the research was sponsored by "clean" federal money, not dirty Exxon money. And paradoxaly, most of this boost in the US climate change research was spurred in the early 90s by guess who? If you remembered the old dady Bush you are right, funding research was the excuse back then for taking no action respecting the warming. I do not think Wikipedia should leave this biased article unchecked. User:Antonio D Nobre

I have now made true on my "promise" of adding "page upon page" of positive response. I do not think this bloated form is particularly oppertune, but I also do not agree with (presumably) about every last critic being quoted, yet only a represantativly small number of concurrent being quoted. Regards Sean Heron 17:31, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
I actually think it is useful information. Someone doing a report, or writing a history, would find it valuable. I wouldn't cheapen it by suggesting its only there for balance. -- Stbalbach 17:39, 28 January 2007 (UTC)


I don't think it is accurate to describe Lomborg as "a global warming skeptic". He accepts that the earth is getting warmer and that it is probably largely caused by human activity. (As a non-scientist he believes he must accept the weight of scientific opinion). He does say that he believes the cost of mitigation out-weighs the benefits. This, of course, is primarily an economic issue.

Unless someone violently disagrees, I will change the description to "economist".

Careful with that, there is a sub-field in economics that is concerned with the environment. See Environmental Economics SolitaryWolf 16:44, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

And is WSJ considered a "conservative" newspaper? Though it is mainly a business paper, I don't believe it is usually conservative, in the American sense of that term. wycombe 02:39, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Lomborg is not an economist. He is best known for his book The Skeptical Environmentalist in which he is skeptical - in the context of this article, I think it's fair to call him a "skeptic". Yes, the WSJ is considered a conservative paper in the USA. They regularly features op/ed's about climate change skepticism. -- Stbalbach 04:47, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
In TSE, Lomberg is skeptical of many things, but GW isn't one of them. He's said this in other venues as well. A quickie google search:
Indeed, few of his writings on GW make any sense at all unless he accepts GW as "real". In light of this, we can not refer to him "global warming skeptic", in any context: it is just not consistent with the sources. I'll tweak the article. mdf 20:09, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
In TSE, Lomborg *is* skeptical of GW: he spends most of the GW chapter quibbling. Later on (Copenhagen Consensus) he seems to abandon this and starts from the IPCC position (on the science) William M. Connolley 11:12, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
The WSJ editorial page is very conservative, but the news department skews neutral-liberal. See Wall Street Journal#Study of Media Bias. I don't think it's helpful to worry about the WSJ's political position here, though - the author is Lomborg, and the conservative nature of the WSJ editorial page isn't relevant to whether Lomborg is a credible source on this issue. TheronJ 14:41, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Also in accordance to the wikipedian article Bjørn Lomborg. Apparently; many scientists — including the majority of climatologists — remain critical of Lomborg's work. This may be worth mentioning. SolitaryWolf 16:51, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Oops - I just changed the description of Lomborg (which seemed a bit POV) and I now see this has been discussed already. Well, if anyone disputes my new wording please amend it. Ben Finn 17:52, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Discount Rate[edit]

I have seen it commented that the big difference with the Stern Report and other studies is in the use of discount rates comparing the impact on future generations with today. The UK government greenbook says you need to discount impact on future generations by 3.5% per year and stern said they should be considered equally with current generations: that rather throws the comparison. However I don't want to put original research in on this and cannot find the article. Can anyone else find the article?--BozMo talk 10:49, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Is William Nordhaus a good enough source [8]? William M. Connolley 11:09, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Please note, the above link to Nordhaus's paper is dead, see [9] for a copy. Wogone (talk) 17:20, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, and exactly the right discussion although it is 6 pages in. It is also a by-line in the article but I wonder if we should explain it more given the huge impact it makes on decisions. --BozMo talk 17:17, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
My personal opinion is that TSR is going to fall mostly on the discount rate; so perhaps we can be prescient and put it in, since Nordhaus is pretty notable William M. Connolley 17:32, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
You said on the Radio 4 programme The Investigation broadcast on 25 January 2007 that Stern (a) took a particularly high emissions/temperature scenario and (b) extrapolated out to 2200 rather than the more typical 2100, to get his dramatic results. Unusually, I agree with your points precisely, and I suspect they [plus the high costs of adaptation and low costs of mitigation chosen by Stern] are more suspect than the discount rate (which was effectively not 0.1% but rather real GDP growth plus 0.1% - low but not insane). --Facethefacts 23:25, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
But without the low discount rate the costs past 2100 don't count much William M. Connolley 09:46, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Are there any reasons to truncate at 2100 or 2200 instead of computing the perpetuity? James S. 21:32, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
As I just said: if you use a sane discount rate, there is no need to go further William M. Connolley 21:35, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
If I am understanding you to say for example, that using a typical 3 or 5% rate as a perpetuity would produce about the same results as Stern's, then I am inclined to agree, but must admit my finance math isn't good enough to say for sure. It does seem likely, but someone like Stern must have thought of this. Maybe. James S. 22:53, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
"Many previous studies have used higher rates of pure time preference, which are similar to those used for evaluating other kinds of investments. However, we argue that this disinvestment in the environment cannot be considered in, say, the same way as an economist would consider an investment in a railway. A railway can be replaced or redesigned, it can become obsolete or redundant. In other words, the probability of survival depends on the context. In this case the context is that of the whole planet." UK Treasury Stern Review - Section 8 of this FAQ.
From the above, I get the impression that the Stern Review isn't pretending to use a normal discount rate. Rather, it's ignoring normal discount rates on the grounds that the whole planet is involved. Doesn't that take it out of the realm of economics? --SueHay 23:45, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
I mean outside the realm of applied economics and into the theoretical realm. --SueHay 00:29, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
The discount rate issue is critical, and Stern's view is widely supported by economists (though also widely criticised by others). I'll try to write something about this soon.JQ 03:00, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Please. I tried to write Stern c/o Oxford, and haven't heard anything back yet. I think it's very likely that a 0.1% rate truncated at 2200 is similar to a 3 or 5% rate truncated at, say, 3000. James S. 06:38, 14 April 2007 (UTC)


Don't you accept that Blair will resign soon (he has publicly announced that he will)? That reduces any comments he may have to also-ran. Presumably you want to keep your fanatical obsession with anthropogenic global warming very firmly on Wikipedia. This seems to me to be against the spirit and ethos of Wiki! Peterlewis 10:02, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

If you rephrase that politely I'd reply William M. Connolley 10:40, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Um, I'm not really sure what you're getting at but Gordon Brown hardly seems less certain about global warming then the so called also ran Tony Blair [10] "We now have sufficient evidence that human-made climate change is the most far-reaching and almost certainly the most threatening of all the environmental challenges facing us." (N.B. comment wasn't about the Stern report) Nil Einne 15:49, 12 April 2007 (UTC)


Tol is a strongly anti-Stern source, and his writing on the topic is highly polemical. I don't think the figure should be presented in a way that suggests endorsement. Unless anyone has a counter-argument, I'd propose to move it to the criticism section JQ 03:03, 10 April 2007 (UTC)


The background section reads like the Stern Report is a political response, a reaction, undermining its objective credibility. Can this be worded in a more neutral manner and bring in additional information about what led up to the writing of the report? -- Stbalbach 15:25, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

But it is? Everyone knows scaremongering nets more grant money than everything being peachy. Comradeash 15:05, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Blurbs from the UK Treasury[edit]

As far as I can see all the endorsements from prominent economists etc.. are blurbs from the UK Treasury that published the report. Strictly speaking I suspect we should delete them according to policy, but this may be a little harsh. However we should at least make this clear. NBeale 21:29, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Ah. Glad you said that. I certainly think we are quoting too many of them. Also the link itself,, is broken.

The +ve crit resp section starts "The Stern Review attracted a great deal of positive attention, but little of Stern's fellow economists." Both halves of that are arguably true, but OR. I'd let them live (with of -> from). Unless you believe the treasury spin, in which case there *is* lots of +ve from econ. On yet another hand, many of the treasury quotes don't seem to be from econ anyway.

Some of these comments appeared at the same time as the Stern Review itself, even though the Stern Review was not reviewed by outsiders before publication. may need some justifiaction, too William M. Connolley (talk) 22:00, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Scientific review of the Stern Review[edit]

I have edited the following sentence because it is inaccurate and unsourced:

'Some of these comments appeared at the same time as the Stern Review itself, even though the Stern Review was not reviewed by outsiders before publication.'

The Stern Review was reviewed by scientists at the Walker Institute, University of Reading:

'Reviews -Prof Julia Slingo, Prof. Brian Hoskins, Dr Andrew Challinor and Dr Tim Wheeler have provided detailed expert reviews of the chapter on Climate Science and Climate Impacts of the Stern Review.' Enescot (talk) 10:44, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

This however is only one small and fairly unimportant part of the report William M. Connolley (talk) 11:22, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
I put in that sentence. No economist has admitted to reviewing the Stern Review, and Nick Stern admitted at the Yale Symposium that the Stern Review was not peer-reviewed. Julia Slingo and co may have looked at some of the climate science, but I believe that the title is the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change and Julia would be the first to admit that her knowledge of economics is somewhat limited.
As to the timing, I was probably the first to download the Stern Review and I was amazed to see all these busy Nobel Laureates having "read" the Stern Review and even having commented on it, all within minutes of its release. Richard Tol (talk) 13:07, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
And do you have any references to substantiate it? (symposium notes, someone who states surprise about the comments etc?) Otherwise it was correctly removed. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:32, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Stern himself admitting in retrospect that peer-review may have been smart is now referenced.
At the time, Stern argued that Stern Review could not be peer-reviewed because his peers would leak the document to the press, while in fact journalists were leaking the document to peers.
The timing issue is Tol (personal communication) although I believe I am cited as saying such in a newspaper. I would argue that this is sufficient until someone challenges my claim. Nobody has in the two years that it was up on Wikipedia. Richard Tol (talk) 14:12, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

There is a little information on the timing issue in the article by Jim Giles in Nature (vol. 444, November 2nd 2006, pp. 6-7). Kåre Fog (talk) 17:19, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Unfavorable critical response[edit]

The intro to this section needs rewriting, mainly because it (a) mixes anti- with pro-Stern views which belong elsewhere in the article, and (b) says the same stuff twice. (talk) 14:35, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree. It would be relevant that somebody made some kind of review/overview of the debate among scientists on the Stern Review. There were a lot of critical reviews, replies to the critical reviews, replies to the replies, and replies to the replies to the replies. . . Most of these have not been regarded in the Wikipedia article, because most of it was written shortly after publication of the Stern review. Most of the discussion was in the journal World Economics. Relevant papers here are: Issue 7(2), 2006: Stern pp. 1-10 Byattt et al. pp. 145-151 Stern pp. 153-157. Issue 7(4), 2006: Carter et al., pp. 167-198 Byattt et al., pp. 199-229 Tol & Yohe, pp. 233-250. Issue 8(1), 2007: Dietz et al., pp. 121-168 (Stern and coworkers´ first reply). Hamid et al., pp. 169-186 Beckerman & Hepburn, pp. 187-210 Anderson, pp. 211-219 Mitchell et al. , pp. 221-228 Arnell et al., pp. 229-231 Glikson, pp. 233-238 Issue 8(2), 2007: Simmonds & Steffen, pp. 133-141 Holland et al. , pp. 143-151 Tol & Yohe, pp. 153-159 Carter et al., pp. 161-182 Dietz et al., pp. 229-258 (final reply by Stern and coworkers).

In addition, there are some important papers in other journals. I would especially recommend the paper by Weitzman: Weitzman, M L (2007): J economic literature 45: 703-724 Other papers are e.g. Nordhaus, W (2007): Science 317; 201-202. Yohe, G (2006): Integrated assessment journal 6(3): 65-72.

I think the article should refer to such a list of references. It will of course be difficult to review all the arguments pro and con from all those papers. One might make a short paragraph on the scientific debate pro et con, and then discuss the details in separate paragraphs, e.g. the paragraph on discounting.

Note that Tol & Yohe (2007) admit (p. 157) that Stern did not double-count catastrophic risks. And note that Dasgpta´s comments regarding the saving rate are countered in this link, which should be inserted in the Wikipedia article: Kåre Fog (talk) 17:14, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Deleted section "Previous debate in the UK"[edit]

I've deleted a lot of the info contained in the Previous debate in the UK section and moved it to the article on Nigel Lawson. In my view, not all of the background info was relevant to the article. I've moved the Byatt et al. reference to the section on criticism of the Stern Review. I've deleted external links that are citied in the article. Enescot (talk) 07:21, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Restructuring and expansion[edit]

I've revised the article to remove repetition of topics. I could see no other way of doing this other than a major restructuring. In particular, a number of arguments presented in the "discounting" section had previously been repeated in the "criticism" section.

I decided on putting mostly "non-academic" criticisms in one section and comments by economists in another. I think this allows a better structure for criticisms of the Review and the responses of Stern.

I've put the "discounting" section inside the new "economics" section. The "discounting" section actually explains some of the technical language used in other sections but had previously been put at the bottom of the article.

Other changes I've made are some expansions to some sections. These include a number of additional comments on the Review, mostly by academics.

I've deleted what I view as an unnecessarily long quote from the HM Treasury document on the Stern Review. In my opinion, the positive comments were not particularly informative. Instead, I've changed this to two lists: the first list is in the "favourable responses" section, while the list of academic economists is in the "economists response" section.

My other changes are relatively minor. To improve clarity, I've rewritten several sections. I've also rewritten several references so that they use the standard template. I deleted a few comments on sources, e.g., "the climate sceptic organization" etc. In my view, this sort of tag isn't necessary. Enescot (talk) 17:04, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

IPCC authors[edit]

I've deleted reference to Richard Tol being an IPCC author. It's not consistent to mention that he's an IPCC author but not say the same of several other commenters - Stiglitz, Cline, Arrow and Barker. Enescot (talk) 19:25, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Climate change denial[edit]

Absolutely inappropriate unless you wish to claim that this report is/was engaging in it. If so, that would require a reference, as it appears to be more extreme than the then-current theories. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 18:42, 12 October 2009 (UTC)


Wiki isn't a newspaper. There is no call to update based on todays news [11]. As it happens I don't much like the Stern report, since like RTol I think it exaggerates [12]. But that is still no reason to add a badly-digested version of todays newspaper clippings William M. Connolley (talk) 19:45, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

It's notable criticism, reporting that Stern misinterpreted Muir-Woods' comments. It may not deserve a separate section, but it deserves mention. And Muir-Woods is the reliable primary source; The Times is the reliable secondary source, as per Wikipedia policies and guidelines. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:27, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
It definately doesn't deserve a separate section (yet). — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:30, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
It should be included. Connolley is just playing for time. Richard Tol (talk) 20:32, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
So fine. If it is so wonderfully notable, it will still be notable in amonths time when it has time to settle. Putting it in *based on todays newspapers* looks like indecent haste, if not desperation William M. Connolley (talk) 21:07, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
WP:NOTCENSORED. There's no question that The Times is a reliable source, and there's little question that the criticism is notable, being from someone Stern claims as a reference. If we remove this for undue weight, we should now remove the specific material criticized from ALL of Wikipedia as dubious, even if reported in The Guardian. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:57, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
This should be included. Muir-Wood's critique will not change. Notability will not change. There is no reason for delay, other than to support a particular point of view. Richard Tol (talk) 22:10, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Please read what I wrote. I said NOTNEWs, and didn't mention undue weight. And no, the Times isn't an RS for science. RTol: how do you know that the reporting of M-W's critique won't change? Is there some way that you know that just todays Times reporting is the definitive word? No, there isn't. Have some patience. Why is it necessary to add this *on the day it was written*? William M. Connolley (talk) 22:12, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Is this about the stern report being changed on a daily basis as it appears their sources were "not so Good" :) It was also mentioned in the Telegraph --mark nutley (talk) 22:38, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
@Marknutley This was an interesting piece that clearly should be worked into a section. I've just don't belive what I'm reading. They change the report just so? It's important that we use Webcitation as far as it's possible, so we know what they said then. Maybe we can retrieve old version from Internet Archive? Nsaa (talk) 23:05, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
You can retrieve the old pdf`s and compare them, take a look here for your starting point --mark nutley (talk) 10:16, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
(Cross posted from WMCs talk page [Redacted - 2/0])@WMC Who has claimed that this is NEWS and not eligible for inclusion? If you need to know the difference between Wikinews and Wikipedia, you can start reading this piece "Wikipedia's record of the event is an impressive, detailed account of the bombings that has been regularly revised and updated as new information has been made public. The listing now includes a timeline of events, lists of casualties and suspects, emergency contacts details and the Red Cross relief fund and coverage of the response from the media and financial markets. Wikipedia has a policy that it will only publish information already reported by a reliable source - a safety net designed to make sure that content is accurate. The first report on the bombings was filed by one user at 10:18 GMT on 7 July - just an hour and a half after the first explosion - but in line with this policy she waited for confirmation in the mainstream media before publishing it. Wikinews, on the other hand, was founded specifically to encourage original reporting. The first story on the bombings was posted at 9:28 GMT - little more than 30 minutes after the first blast. A further 23 stories were contributed in the following six days, eight of which claimed to include at least some original reporting; first-hand eyewitness accounts, information from officials or photos from the scene."
So Wikipedia is up to date as soon as a WP:RS source has covered it. Nsaa (talk) 22:43, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

An obvious exaple of why NOTNEWs is a good idea is given at Talk:Rajendra_K._Pachauri#NOTNEWs:_why William M. Connolley (talk) 17:39, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Slight difference there really, the stern report relied heavily on muir-woods, in fact stern is being heavily edited almost daily. What is being suggested in this article is very different. --mark nutley (talk) 17:48, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
And who says "the stern report relied heavily on muir-woods" - is that your own personal opinion, or you do have an RS for that? No, the difference is that over at RKP you are provably wrong to have wanted to use the ref before it settled; fortunately over there we ignored you. Over here, alas, things are otherwise William M. Connolley (talk) 17:59, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Not so WMc, take a look if you please [13] As i said over there, i did not put his name in the list :) So i`m not really provably wrong as i had dropped the guy already :) How about you comment on what is being proposed for the articles :) --mark nutley (talk) 18:13, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Rewrote Yale Symposium and other changes[edit]

I've done a fairly extensive revision of this article. My main changes have been to expand the section on the Yale Symposium and to cut down the quote from the Stern Review team's paper in World Economics.

I've changed this bit of the intro:

The report attracted both praise and criticism; the most consequential criticisms are related to the low discount rate used to tackle this very long-term issue and the treatment of adaptation of future generations to a new global climate.

This is a POV statement. What you view to be the "most substantive criticisms" is a subjective matter. I also do not agree that the adaptation criticism is particularly substantive given Stern's modeling of adaptation. My revision is:

There has been a mixed reaction to the Stern Review from economists. Several economists have been critical of the Review,[3][4] for example, a paper by Byatt et al. (2006) describes the Review as "deeply flawed".[5] Some have supported the Review,[6][7] while others have argued that Stern's conclusions are reasonable, even if the method by which he reached them is incorrect.[8]

This summary was previously part of the "response of economists" section. I think academic economic comments should be viewed as being the most important. The Review is an economic review, and other criticisms, like those of the science of the Review, are minority viewpoints.

My other revisions have been to better outline Stern's counter-arguments to criticisms of the Review. I've also changed bits of the article that incorrectly described the Review as a cost-benefit analysis. Enescot (talk) 02:12, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Felix Ekardt removed[edit]

I've deleted this:

Felix Ekardt criticizes climate economics in general, referring to the following points: out of date climate data; problematic handling of prognostic uncertainty; missing but important consequences of climate change, e. g. war for resources; inadmissible metrication of interests that do not allow for their being metricated; erroneous discounting; ethical and democratic deficits of the economic choice approach/ efficiency theory.[63]

This is not directly relevant to the article. I'm also doubtful that Ekardt's viewpoint is notable. Most of the other experts cited in the section "response of economists" are either IPCC authors or otherwise well-known and distinguished economists. Enescot (talk) 22:24, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

PhD dissertation[edit]

I've removed extensive references to what appears to be a PhD dissertation written by Nihar Shah of Berkeley. This probably isn't the kind of source we should be discussing in an encyclopedia article about the economics of climate change. --TS 02:50, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Restructuring of economic analysis[edit]

I've removed this stuff from the "General criticisms" section:

Criticism of the review comes form various sides.

Probably, the main disagreement between the Stern Review’s critics has been because the Reviews selection of parameters does not reflect real market returns to capital. Nordaus has been very critical of the Ramsey zero pure time preference on the basis of utilitarian ethical stance. He takes a strictly market based view of intergenerational projects arguing that the social rate of time preference reflects the rate of return observed in the marketplace. Nordhaus also raised his view that the present generation will have to for go a large amount of consumption now for the benefit of future generations who will be much richer than the present generation.

Dasqupta argues that there is some confusion in the Stern review about the underlying rationale for the selection of the Ramsey parameters. He states that the review mixes both market returns on investment with parameters selected on ethical grounds. The mixing of a descriptive approach with a prescriptive approach is not good economics.

Neumayer argues that the real issue is the non substitutable loss of natural capital that is to what extent climate change inflicts irreversible and non substitutable damage to and loss of natural capital. Economist defines natural capital as the multiple and various services of nature from which human’s benefit- from natural resources to pollution absorption and environmental amenities. That climate change then leads to many irreversible negative effects on natural capital, this point is not disputed. None of Stern’s critics are advocating doing nothing about climate change. What they disagree about is how much is it worth sacrificing now to prevent a worst case scenario in a hundred years time. The review suggests that it will cost 1% of global GDP but according to Mendelsohn, this is far too optimistic and that the figure could be easily much higher “One of the depressing things about the greenhouse gas problem is that the cost of eliminating it is quite high. We will actually have to sacrifice a great deal to cut emissions dramatically”, he said. (Mendelsohn, 2007)

This is largely covered in the later "Response of economists" section. I've retained most of the above content but integrated it into the "Response of economists" section. No precise citations are given for the above, so I've added citation needed tags where appropriate. The bits I've deleted are as follows:

Criticism of the review comes form various sides.

In my opinion, this is not an especially useful sentence. The introduction to the article and sub-section, at least in my view, provide better summaries of opinions about the Stern Review.

Probably, the main disagreement between the Stern Review’s critics has been because the Reviews selection of parameters does not reflect real market returns to capital.

Unsourced. Such a statement would require reference to a source that has reviewed of all the comments made about the Stern Review.

Dasqupta argues that there is some confusion in the Stern review about the underlying rationale for the selection of the Ramsey parameters. He states that the review mixes both market returns on investment with parameters selected on ethical grounds. The mixing of a descriptive approach with a prescriptive approach is not good economics.

The last sentence is not attributed to Dasgupta and appears to be an editorial comment. I've therefore deleted it.

None of Stern’s critics are advocating doing nothing about climate change. What they disagree about is how much is it worth sacrificing now to prevent a worst case scenario in a hundred years time.

Unsourced and unattributed. Enescot (talk) 12:27, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Revised intro[edit]

I've removed this sentence:

Australian economists Paul Jensen and Elizabeth Webster summarise the various arguments for and against Stern's choice of discount rate.[61]

and added the cited paper to the further reading section. Mentioning the paper in the main article doesn't serve any purpose unless its content is actually discussed.

I've trimmed down and restructured the introduction. I thought that it was a bit too long in places. I've also changed the description of business-as-usual damages to make it clear that these damages are equivalent to GDP losses, rather than actual GDP losses. Enescot (talk) 04:27, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Discounting of mitigation costs[edit]

I've changed this sentence:

Discounting is used in Stern's calculation of the costs of mitigation, as well as the costs of "business-as-usual" climate change.

I wrote this previously because I assumed that Stern's mitigation cost estimate used discounting. According to Dietz et al p.166 (PDF), however:

Our central estimate of an annual mitigation cost of 1% of GDP to follow a 550 ppm CO2e stabilisation pathway is taken to be constant through time. It is not a present value [emphasis added] and we do not calibrate impact costs in terms of present value. Indeed we have argued that we have to work in terms of the expected welfare integral, not marginal changes of the present-value kind. We compare a flow of mitigation costs (1% of GDP) with a percentage flow of climate-change impacts, calibrated via the balanced growth equivalent (BGE).

I take "[it] is not a present value" to mean that the estimate was not discounted. Enescot (talk) 04:40, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

Weitzman's views on the Stern Review[edit]

I've rewritten the part of the article that outlines Weitzman's general comments on the Review. The previous revision was:

Harvard economist Martin Weitzman has written that "the Stern Review consistently leans towards [...] assumptions and formulations that emphasize optimistically-low expected costs of mitigation and pessimistically-high expected damages from greenhouse warming", that the documentation in the report is "elusive, frustrating, and ultimately unsatisfactory" and that "the key assumption that drives its strong conclusions is the mundane fact that a very low interest rate is postulated".[48]"[...] concerning the rate of pure time preference, Stern follows a decidedly-minority paternalistic view", and "[in] a similar spirit of choosing extreme taste parameters, Stern selects as its base-case coefficient of relative risk aversion [...] that is the lowest lower bound of just about any economist's best-guess range." Weitzman continues to argue that the Stern Review underestimated the risk of climate change and that, therefore, the Stern Review is "right for the wrong reasons", a conclusion shared by Yohe and Tol.[57]

Having read some of the paper that Weitzman's comments are taken from, I do not believe that the above is an adequate summary. Weitzman does not accept all of the Review's analysis, but is not entirely critical of the Review either, as the revision above suggests. My new revision is based principally on the conclusions section of Weitzman's paper. I believe that this section of the paper best summarizes Weitzman's views on the Stern Review. My new revision:

Harvard economist Martin Weitzman has written a paper on the Stern Review (Weitzman, 2007).[9] In this paper, Weitzman described himself as "skeptical" in regards to the discount rate used by Stern in the Review's formal (aggregated) assessment of climate change.[10] One of Weitzman's conclusions was that Stern deserved credit for increasing public awareness on the dangers of climate change.[11] However, Weitzman also commented that:

[...] in my opinion, Stern deserves a measure of discredit for giving readers an authoritative-looking impression that seemingly objective best-available-practice professional economic analysis robustly supports its conclusions, instead of more openly disclosing the full extent to which the Review’s radical policy recommendations depend upon controversial extreme assumptions and unconventional discount rates that most mainstream economists would consider much too low

The point that Weitzman raises in his paper concerning discounting being inadequate due to climate risks is already mentioned in another section of the article:

Whilst critical of Stern's discounting, Martin Weitzman has argued that standard discounting procedures are inherently incapable of dealing with extreme, low-probability events, such as the risk of catastrophic climate change

which I have left unchanged. The matter of the Review being "right for the wrong reasons" does not appear in Weitzman's paper. Rather, he poses the statement as an open question:

History will judge whether the economic analysis of the Stern Review ended up being more wrong or more right and, if it was more right, whether as pure economic reasoning it was right for the right reasons or it was right for the wrong reasons.

I was also unhappy with the way Weitzman's viewpoint was used in the article's introduction, which summarizes the views of various economists:

There has been a mixed reaction to the Stern Review from economists. Several economists have been critical of the Review,[5][6] for example, a paper by Byatt et al. (2006) describes the Review as "deeply flawed".[7] Some economists (such as Brad DeLong[8] and John Quiggin[9]) have supported the Review, while others have argued that Stern's conclusions are reasonable, even if the method by which he reached them is incorrect (e.g. Weitzman).[10]

Weitzman disagreed with aspects of the Review's analysis, but I do not believe he described Stern's methodology as "incorrect." My new revision:

There has been a mixed reaction to the Stern Review from economists. Several economists have been critical of the Review,[5][6] for example, a paper by Byatt et al. (2006) describes the Review as "deeply flawed".[7] Some economists (such as Brad DeLong[8] and John Quiggin[9]) have supported the Review. Others have criticized aspects of Review's analysis, but argued that some of its conclusions might still be justified based on other grounds, e.g., see papers by Weitzman (2007) and Helm (2008).

Weitzman's viewpoint actually appears to support the Nordhaus "gradual emissions ramp" view, but emphasizes the need to better understand climate risk (PDF, pp.722-724). From the abstract:

The Review’s second basic strand is a more intuitive argument that it might be very important to avoid possibly large uncertainties that are difficult to quantify. Concerning this uncertainty aspect, I argue that it might be recast into sound analytical reasoning that might justify some of the Review’s conclusions.

I think this supports the use of the word "justified" in my new revision. Enescot (talk) 02:55, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

Quotation resource[edit]

... Climate change is, in the words of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, “the greatest example of market failure we have ever seen.” ...

from,4 by Naomi Klein. This article appeared in the November 28, 2011 print edition of The Nation. (talk) 00:28, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Move to Nicholas Stern, Baron Stern of Brentford since not Review directly?[edit]

In an interview at the 2013 World Economic Forum, Stern said "Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then" in the 2006 Review. He now believes we are "on track for something like four degrees".[12] Had he known the way the situation would evolve, he says, "I think I would have been a bit more blunt. I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise." (talk) 01:45, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

New Image[edit]

It is here

There's another image here, one that I just made. I want to make it more clear as to the differences between the review and the current literature. CoffeeWithMarkets (talk) 14:22, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Ecological economic critique Major addition[edit]

Amongst all the sections of criticism in this entry there is no mention of the literature from outside the mainstream of economics and more specifically from ecological economics. Three paragraphs in a new section including several references have been added. Hopefully others can also add to the references here as there are far more from environmental ethics than I have been able to include e.g. Bryan Norton. There are also probably other critical perspectives within the ecological economics literature which might be added e.g. Dick Norgaard, Rich Howarth. As the Stern report claimed to be addressing ethics the absence of references to work (such as that of Spash) explicitly on economics, ethics and climate change is a poor reflection on the scholarship of the 'review' work. At least in Wikipedia the same mistake should not be allowed to persist. Thinksome (talk) 23:17, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

Methane bubble costs added to Stern review[edit]

I added this link in the see also section:

Perhaps it's useful to write a small text about it in the article too, and use the link as a reference instead. KVDP (talk) 08:10, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

General Criticism - Leaked UN Report[edit]

The criticism of the "The Business" is based on a "leaked" IPCC AR4 Deaft. It claims mitigation costs would, according to the Draft, amount to up to 5 % GDP (to stay under 550ppm CO2e until 2050, see 1), much more than what Stern found. However, if I understand correctly, the numbers in the final report are very different from those that have supposedly been in the draft, and are in good agreement with Stern. I think, this criticism has no foundation any more and should be removed. --DeWikiMan (talk) 00:03, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

removed --DeWikiMan (talk) 06:15, 16 March 2014 (UTC)