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The Stern Review: A Deconstruction

Author

Listed:
  • Gary W. Yohe
  • Richard S.J. Tol

    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

Abstract

Using a simple model designed for transparency but nonetheless calibrated to support the much-quoted damage estimates of the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change, we demonstrate significant sensitivity of those results to assumptions about the pure rate of time preference, the discounting time horizon, rates of risk and equity aversion used to compute certainty- and equity equivalent annuities, and presumed static regional vulnerability. Manipulation of any of these parameters one at a time across reasonable ranges can diminish damage estimates by as much as 84% or, in the case of extending the time horizon, increase damage estimates by 900%. We also confirm the usual result that limiting atmospheric concentrations to specific benchmarks above 400 ppm cannot eliminate damages. Nonetheless, we applaud the Stern Review author team for reconfirming that the climate problem can productively be approached as an economic problem whose solutions can be explored with the tools of decision analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary W. Yohe & Richard S.J. Tol, 2007. "The Stern Review: A Deconstruction," Working Papers FNU-125, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Feb 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:sgc:wpaper:125
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. What to do about climate change: looking beyond the discount rate controversy
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-11-29 20:53:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard S.J. Tol, 2018. "The impact of climate change and the social cost of carbon," Working Paper Series 1318, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    2. -, 2010. "The economics of climate change in Central America: summary 2010," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 35229, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    3. David Anthoff & Richard Tol, 2009. "The Impact of Climate Change on the Balanced Growth Equivalent: An Application of FUND," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 43(3), pages 351-367, July.
    4. Drupp, Moritz A. & Baumgärtner, Stefan & Meyer, Moritz & Quaas, Martin F. & von Wehrden, Henrik, 2020. "Between Ostrom and Nordhaus: The research landscape of sustainability economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 172(C).
    5. Kenta Tanaka & Shunsuke Managi & Katsunobu Kondo & Kiyotaka Masuda & Yasutaka Yamamoto, 2011. "Potential Climate Effect On Japanese Rice Productivity," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(03), pages 237-255.
    6. Dritan Osmani, "undated". "A note on optimal transfer schemes, stable coalition for environmental protection and joint maximization assumption," Working Papers FNU-176, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University.
    7. Andy Reisinger, 2011. "Interdisciplinarity: are we there yet?," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 108(1), pages 23-30, September.
    8. Meixuan Teng & Hua Liao & Paul J. Burke & Tianqi Chen & Chen Zhang, 2022. "Adaptive responses: the effects of temperature levels on residential electricity use in China," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 172(3), pages 1-20, June.
    9. Aline Chiabai & Ibon Galarraga & Anil Markandya & Unai Pascual, 2013. "The Equivalency Principle for Discounting the Value of Natural Assets: An Application to an Investment Project in the Basque Coast," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 56(4), pages 535-550, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    economics of climate change; certainty equivalent and equity equivalent annuity; relative risk aversion; equity aversion; pure rate of time preference;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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    1. Stern Review in Wikipedia English

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