Stern berates marginal climate deniers

Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change and former chief economist of the World Bank, said in a speech to the Royal Society that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2013 report reaffirms the ‘powerful and dangerous’ underlying climate change trend, and the immensity of the risks associated with delays and inaction. The IPCC expects us to reach an increase of 2ºC over present day levels within this century.

Stern’s opinion of those who deny climate change and argue for delays in tackling emissions was clear: they are ‘increasingly intellectually marginal and irrational’, as arguments for delay demonstrate clearly that these people feel the risks are small, or that we will uncover some magical antidote – or that they simply don’t care much about the future. The science, Stern maintained, is unequivocal and demands action. Vested interests of industries hostile to the hard facts about climate change deliberately distort public perceptions of the risks of climate change and should be treated as ‘noise’, not engaged with. Moreover, Stern pointed out, delay will lock us in to investments and infrastructure and systems that depend on fossil fuels and exacerbate emissions far into the future.