The Climate Group responds to The Stern Review

30 October 2006

The Stern review, released on October 30th, stated that failure to tackle climate change could cost the world up to 7 trillion dollars, and leave 200 million people as refugees amid drought or flood.

The key message from the report, the most extensive analysis carried out to date on the economics of climate change, is that the costs of taking action now (likely to amount to approximately 1% of GDP) are far outweighed by the costs associated with adopting a 'wait and see' attitude.

This macro-level analysis showing that taking early action to combat climate change is an economically sound course of action is backed up by much of The Climate Group's work at the micro-level, which has shown how companies from a range of sectors have made significant emissions reductions and made or saved money in the process.

Steve Howard, The Climate Group's CEO, said "The Stern Review provides clear evidence to support what many businesses, governments and the public have known intuitively for years; cutting carbon emissions is the only sensible course of action, both environmentally and economically."

Following the release of the Stern Review, David Miliband, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, this afternoon announced that the UK Government will introduce a new Climate Change Bill to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The Bill will consist of 4 key pillars:

  • The existing long-term goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 will become a statutory target, and milestones or trajectories towards it will be established.
  • An independent Carbon Committee will be formed, consisting of representatives from the political, business and NGO communities, to work with Government to reduce emissions over time and across the economy.
  • Enabling powers will be created under the Bill, which will provide the secondary legislation needed to put in place the further policy measures necessary to achieve these goals (speeding up the process by which the Secretary of State can introduce secondary legislation)
  • Improved monitoring and reporting arrangements will be introduced, including how the Government reports to Parliament

Howard commented: "I welcome the Secretary of State's swift response to the findings of The Stern Review. Making the 60% target law will help give the companies that we are working with the regulatory certainty that they have been calling for on climate change. To really drive this forward and give companies the confidence to invest strategically in the low carbon economy it will be important to develop intermediary targets and specific measures for meeting the goal. The foundations are in place, and the sooner we start to build up real reductions, the more confident we can be about avoiding the type of economic and social problems put starkly in focus by Sir Nicholas's enlightening report."

For further information please contact:

Mark Kenber, Policy Director

Alison Lucas, Head of Communications

+44 (0) 1483 719 400

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