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Stern Report - The Economics of Climate Change

Stern Report - The Economics of Climate Change


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Published by: Si Pepper on Jun 21, 2007
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72. We received a significant amount of evidence on the realism of the
IPCC emissions scenarios, and doubts were raised, particularly about
the high emissions scenarios. The balance of this evidence suggests to
us that the high emissions scenarios contained some questionable
assumptions and outcomes.
First, they may not be consistent with trends
over the past 25 years. Total emissions are indeed increasing, but the rates of
increase have slowed significantly, as has the carbon-intensity of the world
economy. Second, it also seems wrong to attach equal credibility to the
scenarios in general and we believe the IPCC is now working on this issue.
Third, high economic growth of around 3% per annum for the world
economy is not unprecedented, but the Treasury indicated in their evidence
to us that they thought growth of this magnitude over the next 100 years is

. Fourth, the assumptions made by IPCC about the rate of
convergence in per capita incomes, which affect the projections of
greenhouse gas emissions, should at least embody less optimistic

68 M. Webster et al. Uncertainty in emissions projections for climate models. Atmospheric Environment, 36,
2002, 3059-3670.
69 Evidence from P. Johnson (Vol II, pp 151-156)



assumptions. Political considerations should not be allowed to cloud what
should be a scientific procedure in constructing the scenarios. Fifth,
population projections in some of the high emission scenarios seem to us to
be unrealistic. Sixth, there may also be some questions about
underestimating the cooling effects of sulphur. Finally, while we
acknowledge Professor Nordhaus’s judgement that “the jury is still out” on
the extent to which PPP conversion rather than MER conversions will affect
emissions predictions, several critiques show that predictions could be
significantly affected by the use of PPP exchange rates. PPP is the right
procedure, as Professor Nordhaus’s study amply clarifies. While such
errors do not translate into equal magnitude errors in concentrations
or warming, it seems to us important that the IPCC emissions
modellers give serious attention to adopting the correct procedures.



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