Why Are We Waiting?
The risks of climate change are potentially immense. The benefits of taking action are also clear: we can see that economic development, reduced emissions, and creative adaptation go hand in hand. A committed and strong low-carbon transition could trigger a new wave of economic and technological transformation and investment, a new era of global and sustainable prosperity. Why, then, are we waiting? In this book, Nicholas Stern explains why, notwithstanding the great attractions of a new path, it has been so difficult to tackle climate change effectively. He makes a compelling case for climate action now and sets out the forms that action should take.
Stern argues that the risks and costs of climate change are worse than estimated in the landmark Stern Review in 2006—and far worse than implied by standard economic models. He reminds us that we have a choice. We can rely on past technologies, methods, and institutions—or we can embrace change, innovation, and international collaboration. The first might bring us some short-term growth but would lead eventually to chaos, conflict, and destruction. The second could bring about better lives for all and growth that is sustainable over the long term, and help win the battle against worldwide poverty. The science warns of the dangers of neglect; the economics and technology show what we can do and the great benefits that will follow; an examination of the ethics points strongly to a moral imperative for action. Why are we waiting?
About the Author
Lord Stern is I. G. Patel Professor of Economics and Government at the London School of Economics, President of the British Academy, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, and former Chief Economist at the World Bank. He was the lead author of the influential Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, the findings of which he adapted in his book for general readers, The Global Deal: Climate Change and the Creation of a New Era of Progress and Prosperity (also known as A Blueprint for a Safer Planet).
—Joseph E. Stiglitz, University Professor, Columbia University; Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001
—Adair Turner, former Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change and of the UK Financial Services Authority
—Amartya Sen, Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, Harvard University; Nobel Laureate in Economics, 1998
—Peter Diamond, Institute Professor Emeritus, MIT; Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2010
—Ottmar Edenhofer, Co-Chair of Working Group III of the IPCC; Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change; Chief Economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; Professor of the Economics of Climate Change, Technische Universität Berlin