By Brian Kahn
Climate change is ultimately a problem of dollars and cents across generations. That’s because the actions society takes today to address climate change — namely cutting carbon pollution — won’t provide immediate benefits. Instead, those benefits will be reaped in the coming years and decades and even centuries in the form of fewer people dying from heat waves, cities not being submerged by rising seas, farmers dealing with reduced risk of megadroughts.
Weighing all these costs and benefits in terms that governments can create policies around and businesses can prepare for is no small task. Yet 10 years ago, that’s the Stern Review, a 700-page behemoth of a report, did…
…Since the Stern Review’s publication, other economists have made estimates of what it would cost to address climate change, but the Stern Review still stands out as a seminal document similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports on science.
With the 10-year anniversary coming up at the end of October, Climate Central reached out to a group of leading and up-and-coming climate economists dealing with the challenge of valuing climate action now and into the future. Their answers are below, lightly edited for clarity and brevity….
Amir Jina, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago:
Two main contributions stand out to me. First, maybe more than any other single publication, the Stern Review helped to reframe climate change as an economic issue, not just a scientific one. Second, it provided the research community with a strong motivation to discuss some of the thornier questions about climate change economics — the debate about how we value the future being perhaps the most obvious one. There’s a downside to the latter, in that it maybe made us focus too much in the past decade on issues that were in the review rather than all the evidence that wasn’t in there.
Continue reading at Climate Central…