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Ethics and Climate Change Cost-Benefit Analysis: Stern and after

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  • Jonathan Aldred

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    (Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge)

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    Abstract

    The Stern Review on the economics of climate change (hereafter ‘Stern’) has received much attention regarding its potential political impact.1 It has also been extensively discussed among academic economists because its conclusions are more radical, in terms of action to mitigate climate change, than previous orthodox economic analyses. This paper aims to contribute to the debate by critically assessing three key features of climate change CBA, with particular reference to Stern: monetary valuation of human life, discounting, and the treatment of risk and uncertainty. This assessment reveals some common themes, which are examined in the final section. They concern the tensions which emerge in climate change CBA between ethical arguments, market-based preferences, and the claims of CBA to scientific objectivity.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economics in its series Environmental Economy and Policy Research Working Papers with number 44.2009.

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    Date of creation: 2009
    Date of revision: 2009
    Handle: RePEc:lnd:wpaper:442009

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    Keywords: Climate change; Stern report; Cost benefit analysis; discounting; uncertainty;

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