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Stern review author paints bleaker picture on climate change

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) April 17, 2008
Nicholas Stern, the author of a key climate change report, said in an interview published Thursday that he and his team "underestimated" the risks of global warming.

Speaking to the Financial Times, former World Bank chief economist Stern also defended the conclusions in his 2006 report, which has been criticised by some economists and climate change sceptics, including former British finance minister Lord Nigel Lawson.

Stern's 700-page report estimated the effects of climate change at up to a fifth of worldwide gross domestic product if nothing was done.

"We underestimated the risks ... we underestimated the damage associated with the temperature increases ... and we underestimated the probability of temperature increases," he told the business daily.

"The damage risks are bigger than I would have argued ... We can't be precise about what it would be like but you can say it would be a transformation."

He said that if he were writing the report in the current circumstances, he would have "emphasised the importance of good policy and how bad policy puts up the costs (of cutting emissions)."

Among the "bad" policies Stern listed was the use of grain and sugar to make biofuels.

He also dismissed critics of his report, who have alleged that he over-estimated the costs of inaction and under-estimated the costs of action.

"Subsequent reports, (from) McKinsey (a consulting firm), the International Energy Agency, the (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), have pointed to the (Stern report's) costs of action being roughly in the right ballpark," he said.

"Nothing (since) has led me to revise the cost of action."

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US shrugs off 'hot-blooded' climate critics
Washington (AFP) April 17, 2008
The White House on Thursday shrugged off "hot-blooded" critics of US President George W. Bush's climate change policies, tarring them as political opportunists unserious about finding real solutions.

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