The economic aspects of climate change

(Published in GralsWelt 43/2007)

A study on global warming was presented in London on October 30th (2). The study was commissioned by the government under the leadership of the world-famous economist Sir Nicholas Stern (born 1946). He was chief economist at the World Bank from 2000-2003 and is currently an advisor to the UK government.
Its alarming and no longer ignorable results attract worldwide attention. Now it remains to be seen whether our governments can also call upon themselves to take the required, immediate and decisive action.

In the so-called "Star Report" deals with the economic consequences of climate change, which began long ago. The most important statements in Short version:
· With advancing climate change, dramatic consequences for the economy are inevitable.
· There is a risk of damage of billions of euros (up to 20% and more of global economic output). The world economy could plunge into the worst recession since the two world wars - 1914-18 and 1939-45.
· If only 1 % of the world's gross domestic product is used for consistent climate protection, the most serious consequences can still be averted. In any case, the financial benefits of an active climate policy far outweigh the costs.
· Time is running out because there are only 10 to 20 years left to take countermeasures. Since climate change is a global problem, we must also act globally. Today's failures cannot be undone later. If the peoples who shape world politics continue in the same style as before, then the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will already have twice the concentration in 2035 than in the pre-industrial period. The average temperature on earth would then increase by more than 2 degrees Celsius.
In the long term, temperatures could rise by more than 5 degrees. That would have far-reaching effects on the environment, the way people live and the economy. All states would be affected. The poorest countries - which have so far contributed the least to climate change - should also suffer first and the hardest.

Warnings have been given about global warming for years. The Stern Report gives this problem new weight thanks to its well-founded economic and financial policy approaches. Stern's predictions are alarming. They cannot be swept off the table as “estimates” or “questionable hypotheses”.