A Long-Run Target for Climate Policy: The Stern Review and Its Critics

This report is intended to support the work of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) Secretariat in its review of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2050 (defined here as the ‘long run’). It first sets out the approach taken in the Stern Review to proposing a range of targets for stabilising the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases in 2050. It goes on to survey the vigorous academic debate that followed the Stern Review’s publication, with a focus on contributions from academic economists, mainly to the question of how to measure the benefits of emissions reductions.1 In doing so, I have tried to be as comprehensive as possible, yet it is inevitable that I will not have included all of the relevant contributions. Finally, I will draw conclusions on how the Stern Review and the ensuing debate about it have advanced our knowledge of long-run targets for global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as identifying avenues for future research.

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