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Stern exposed

Nicholas Stern is to blame.

When you see wind farms covering every hill and mountain and most of the valleys too, you can blame Stern. If you can't pay your heating bills, ask Stern why this has happened. When children are indoctrinated and dissenting voices crushed, it is at Nicholas Stern that you should point an accusing finger. When the lights start to go out in a few years time, it's Stern who will have to explain why.

Despite years of having mainstream economists pointing to the flaws in the Stern Review there has been an almost unanimous collective shrug from the media, more interested in climate porn than the wellbeing of their neighbours.

But perhaps the tide has turned. The GWPF has just published Peter Lilley's devastating critique of Stern's magnum opus and if this does not alert our policymakers to the confidence trick that has been pulled on them then we can reasonably assume that their ignorance is willful. Lilley's case is so overwhelming it's hard to know where to begin:

[Stern] succeeded in giving the clear impression that we face huge losses now which could be averted at a fifth of their cost. But this is achieved by verbal virtuosity combined with statistical sleight of hand. In fact, even on Stern’s figures, the cumulative costs of reducing greenhouse gases will exceed the cumulative benefits until beyond 2100. Stern’s misleading headlines rely on comparing apples and pears as well as conflating predictions centuries hence with the present.

The ethical values attributed to the perfectly rational decision maker imply that this relatively poor generation should be required to sacrifice up to 5% of their income to ensure that people in 2200, whose average incomes, even on Stern’s most pessimistic scenario, will be over 7 times higher than today’s, do not suffer a 5% loss of income. He castigates those who do not share this view as “not caring for future generations”.

Stern draws heavily on non-peer reviewed and alarmist literature to paint an exaggerated picture of the key risks of global warming.

A World Bank study shows that Stern’s forecasts of damage to infrastructure from more powerful storms are up to 100 times too large - being based on extrapolating a non-peer reviewed paper which attributed much of the growth of insurance claims to greater prevalence of more powerful storms. There is scant evidence of this.

Although the IPCC concludes that it is impossible to say whether the cost of preventing global warming would be more or less than the benefits of doing so, Stern claims the costs will be only a fifth to a twentieth of the benefits.

[H]is Review was an exercise not in evidence based policy making but in policy-based evidence making.

Richard Tol's foreword is hardly less sharply worded:

Sir Nicholas, now Lord Stern, was portrayed as an expert even though he had never published before on the economics of energy, environment or climate.

Nick Stern is, of course, free to use whatever discount rate he wants in his private life. Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University has found that Stern should save 97.5% of his income, were Stern to follow the advice in the Stern Review.

The Stern Review was a tactical masterstroke, but it will likely prove to be a strategic blunder. Its academic value is zero.

[I'll post a link in the morning when it's live at GWPF]

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Reader Comments (50)

Great news. Can't wait.

Sep 4, 2012 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

have you asked Tim Worstall?

Sep 4, 2012 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

By now Lord Stern has passed Go and picked up his '£200'
He's exempt from blame. Our 'democratic' process may still find a way to raise his noble posterior to pour even more sh*t over this once green and pleasant land.
The barons are back in charge. Droit du seigneur is the new order, same as the old order and we've humbled ourselves enougth to mutter deferentially - Thank you m'lord and shuffle respectfully backwards.

Sep 4, 2012 at 12:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

The link is in the unthreaded section ...

Sep 4, 2012 at 1:13 AM | Registered Commentermatthu

Stern wasn't even a good economist, he just thought he was, don't all economists believe in self congratulation and bestow upon themselves an inflated view of their own abilities?

Stern, economist and prima donna.

Sep 4, 2012 at 1:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

It is worth keeping in mind that Pavan Sukhdev - the "study leader" of the new, improved Climate Bible, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) - was "inspired" by Stern's report and that Stern is/was a member of the TEEB "advisory board".

Launched in October 2010, under the auspices of the UN's Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), this treatise is closely allied with the IPCC's younger sibling, IPBES ... which has been patiently waiting in the enviro-advocacy wings.

[For details and links pls see Move over IPCC … here comes IPBES]

Sep 4, 2012 at 2:05 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Stern activated his science, now we're the dismal ones.

Sep 4, 2012 at 3:34 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

This is of course welcome, but if there is anyone out there who still takes the Stern report seriously, after the devastating barrage of economic and scientific criticism it attracted at the time and since, then they truly are suffering from "shut eyed denial" (Steve McIntyre's phrase).

Accurate and incisive though this appears, none of the usual suspects will actually read it, or even admit of its existence. And you just know they're polishing up the "D" word for poor Peter Lilley

Sep 4, 2012 at 6:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Wilson

If this doesn't bring Donna Laframboise out of her hidey-hole before the "official" return of her blog in mid-September, I'll be surprised.

Sep 4, 2012 at 7:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

Empirical science is showing that following 15 years of initially constant, now falling temperature, there appears little if any influence of man-made CO2 on T:

It seems that Stern, who may have made his career on made up claims, has a lot to answer for:

Sep 4, 2012 at 7:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

I suspect and hope Dellers and Christopher Booker will sink their teeth into Stern.

Mind you Stern is "The perfect speaker for your event". I wonder how much he charges.

Sell your shares in HSBC, as he is an economic "Special Adviser" to them.

Sep 4, 2012 at 7:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

An equally important contributor to our woes is James Smith. As Chairman of SHELL he tried to take that company deeply into renewables, including the London Array and into Carbon Trading.
When this policy was reversed (except for bio-fuels) he moved seamlessly to Chair the Carbon Trust where he now presses relentlessly for more offshore wind.
However it is our money he's using. Look at page 26 of their Annual Report and you'll find we still fund this useless Quango to the tune of £44 million p.a.
'Grant Funding recognised turn-over £44million (2010/11 £127.8m).
Cameron should have axed this Quango but bottled out.

Sep 4, 2012 at 8:09 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

The Stern review was a dodgy dossier commissioned by Tony Blair and to contain the conclusions that Blair wanted.

Sep 4, 2012 at 8:15 AM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood
Yesterday David Hone SHELL'S Senior Climate Change Adviser and Chairman of the International Emissions Trading Association, published a blog exulting over the 'linkage' of the ETS and Australian Carbon Trading systems.
as he boasts - 'For me it is great that ONE of MY linkage lines has been filled in'.
Look at that chart. Nothing short of a world-wide Carbon trading system will suit him.
If you don't understand Carbon Taxing & Trading just look at that freighter in the picture 'Shipping Cap & Trade' - What he's pushing for is legalised piracy.Everything that moves by sea will be subject to an extra tax.
And guess who's going to pay !

Sep 4, 2012 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

I believe it was Gordon Brown that commissioned Stern. But Lord Lawson demolished it in his Appeal to Reason, being a better economist than Stern (and Brown) will ever be.

Sep 4, 2012 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

Don't you realise that one of the most political circus acts is going on at the moment and no MP has time for this, theirs places in the cabinet up for sale so why care about this? It's only the poorest in society that pays and they can be simply ignored by staying in your second home.

Sep 4, 2012 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

Shevva; a key issue is how to prepare for a very different World where green policies are a luxury. Look very carefully for the move away from windmills and carbon trading.

Sep 4, 2012 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Years back, I formed a low opinion of Peter Lilley when I saw him on TV making a speech (as a govt minister) blaming the economic problems of the country on unmarried 16 year old mothers.

I think it's time for me to revise my opinion of him.

Sep 4, 2012 at 9:14 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

@Oakwood, Mike Fowle
Gordon Brown commissioned the Stern Review to burnish his green credentials in preparation for his tenure as Prime Minister. Tony Blair joined only when the review was almost complete.

Sep 4, 2012 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Back in 2006 James Smith SHELL'S uber-green Chairman was able to put his company's huge weight behind the Stern Report.
Here we find - 'James Smith welcomed the Stern Report and noted that the complex economic analysis led to a stark conclusion of the need for early action.
Shell looked forward to improved Carbon Capture, second generation bio-fuels, hydrogen cycle transport and alternative energy sources'.
Having our largest company behind him was a massive boost to Nicky Stern.

Sep 4, 2012 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

What?! No response from Bob <fast fingers> Ward in defense of Grantham's "star", Stern?

<pure unadulterated idle speculation alert>

Perhaps Ward (along with his ideological partner in dissemination of dogma, Leo Hickman) is on the verge of moving on to "greener" pastures?!

But that aside ... So far, I've read Tol's convincing - and very damning of Stern - intro, as well as the Executive Summary.

Kudos, and more power to the GWPF and its growing library of rational, reasoned and reasonable responses to the voices of the alarmist "cause".

Sep 4, 2012 at 9:24 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Off Topic but slightly relevent.

Our hero is back on Saturday

The Thick of It on BBC 2

Love to see Malcolm Tucker on Climate Change.Find out how selectively satirical the BBC really are.

Parliment is back,the cabinet reshuffled Lilley is posturing ,politics back after its Summer break.

Sep 4, 2012 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Ooops, sorry ... pls make that ".... partner in dissemination of dogma, BBC's Richard Black" ... somedays it's so hard to tell these diehard disseminators of dogma apart!

Sep 4, 2012 at 10:03 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Here's the key passage for me in the Executive Summary:

Sacrificing today’s poor for tomorrow’s rich. Poor countries are more vulnerable to global warming – because they are poor. The cure for poverty is growth, which requires energy.

Requiring poor countries to replace fossil fuels by renewables costing upwards of twice as much will hinder their growth, leaving them vulnerable to global warming.

Stern admits the bio-fuel target will require 10% of the world’s arable land, driving up food prices by more than the yield loss he expects if temperatures rise 4°C.

How can these people pose as progressives?

Sep 4, 2012 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Sep 4, 2012 at 10:04 AM | Richard Drake

How can these people pose as progressives?

Perhaps they've (conveniently) "redefined" progressives?!

Sep 4, 2012 at 10:21 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Just posted on the Telegraph Delingpole blog, a reminder of the link with UEA.
Climategate Email No 0962818260txt
Mike. Had a very good meeting with Shell yesterday. Only a minor part of the agenda, but i expect they will accept an invitation to act as a strategic partner and will contribute to a studentship fund though under certain conditions - I do know a little about the Fdn and what projects they are looking for . It could be relevant to the new building'.

It is well to appreciate the deep-seated loathing that James Smith had for the industry in which he was for 7 years, chairman of the largest company.
SHELL'S largesse helped very many 'green' organisations and 'reports' financially.
The fact this man still gets £44million a year to disburse through the Carbon Trust is a national scandal.

Sep 4, 2012 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

toad; no doubt at all that the IPCC fake science was financed directly and indirectly by emissions' traders.

Sep 4, 2012 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

In the intro to the GWPF report, Richard Tol writes

The problems of the Stern Review could have been avoided if the report had been reviewed, pre-publication, by experts in the field.

Fair point indeed. But having looked through the acknowledgements section of GWPF report, it's not clear that it has been subjected to a formalized peer review process either. Peter Lilley simply thanks people for their "help and comments". If there was no formalized process, does that matter?

Sep 4, 2012 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichieRich

Thanks. At last the real 'Godfathers' of the 'Eco-fascist Revolution' are being dragged out into the daylight !

Sep 4, 2012 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

The new George Gently series started last Sunday night. The series is based in the 1960s/1970s and features cars of the era such as the Austin A40.

George was investigating the death of a young woman on the lands of the local "gentry".

The "lady" of the house asked a rhetorical type question "who does run the country?

She then proceeded to answer her own question and named 4 or 5 groups of which I managed to write down two.

Number 1...the Trade Unions.

Number 2...the Marxists at the BBC!

Nothing has changed then!

Sep 4, 2012 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

As small point but, unfortunately, the GWPF report has no bibliography which means there's no easy way to check the references.

Sep 4, 2012 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichieRich

this headline gave me a big chuckle last week:

29 Aug: NRDC: Kristin Eberhard's Blog: Economists Voice Support for California Cap-and-Trade Auction
This week, nearly 60 renowned economists and other experts around the country sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown emphatically voicing their strong support for the design of California’s groundbreaking cap-and-trade program, a key element of the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32)...

the letter:

26 Aug: PDF: NRDC: Joint Letter of Economists and Economic Experts to Governor Brown Relating to the Allowance Allocation Design of the California Cap-and-Trade Regulation
(one of the signatories) Kenneth J Arrow PhD, Professor of Economics (Emeritus), Stanford University

29 July 2009: The Atlantic: Conor Clarke: An Interview With Kenneth Arrow, Part Three
(Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian)
Dr. Arrow was a lead author on several of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, which are considered one of the most authoritative sources for estimating climate impacts.
Q And pricing carbon will encourage that kind of development?
A Yes, the pricing of carbon will encourage innovation in energy. Maybe we can induce it with carbon prices. But I think it's important to have real research -- and direct investment in research -- to see what works and what doesn't. Some things seem plausible but haven't been explored

Sep 4, 2012 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

i also recalled an Arrow comment on WUWT:

28 May: WUWT: comment by chris y -
Dan Gardner’s book “Future Babble” is chock full of excellent examples and quotes on precisely this topic. He starts off his Chapter 8 with the following quote that describes perfectly what the hockey stick was for the IPCC-
“The Commanding General is well aware the forecasts are no good. However, he needs them for planning purposes.”
Gardner quoted Kenneth Arrow, Nobel economist, who described a response he received during WWII when he and a colleague demonstrated that the long-term weather forecasts were useless.

Sep 4, 2012 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

I have just started to read Lilley's report. Stern's poor and unconventional use of use economics is brought out quite early in the paper. It seems utterly incredible that the work was never peer reviewed, yet accepted by both government and opposition as the basis of future energy policy.Many of us have concluded that CAGW is a sort of religion. Clearly Stern's report is a chaper in that religion's bible.

Sep 4, 2012 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Warning Lendowsky conspiracy theory coming up.

Question for Oakwood
What have the following all in common

1 Saddam Husseins Weapons of Mass Destruction Dodgy Dossier
2 The Hutton Report
3 Tony Blairs Autobiography
4 The Stern Report

Answer all written by the same person

PS He tells Mark Kermode he dosent swear but he has put 2 mobile phones together.

In conclusion if you, re in the pub and you want to shut up a GWB ( Global Warming Bore ) just say
"If they can tell lies about Iraq why should we believe them about the weather"

Sep 4, 2012 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

But Stern was a career diplomat who, shortly before being appointed publicly stated his ignorance of the subject. Since at least the time of Charles II ("a diplomat is somebody sent to lie aboroad for his king") such people have merely been the sock puppets of the political masters. He could not possibkly be the motivating force of this scam, which was already the publicly enforced party line long before he got there.

I think we have to accept it is indeed willful dishonesty by the political class because "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."Henry Louis Mencken

Sep 4, 2012 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

Peter Stroud
Yes, it does seem beyond belief that the work was treated as if handed down from on high. I remember even Terry Wogan on Radio 2 commenting that the chap had no scientific qualifications. But then Terry was often out of step with BBC mainstream. Incidentally, I think it was someone on this site who recommended Thomas Sowell - The Vision of the Anointed, which I have just read. May I thank whoever it was for putting me on to such a powerfully argued study. Superb

Sep 4, 2012 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

The key point is "The Stern Review was a tactical masterstroke". By winning tactically, the strategic landscape changes. Consider how the Lord of the Greens of Stern would go about winning strategicly?

Point is if you win enough tactical fights, you'll win the war regardless. This is more like looking to assess blame than helping in the strategic war against the Greens. Tick off the itmes that will change with this report. Windmills - could be but the home energy bill is more convincing (thus the "blame it on Stern"). How about new power plants? How about cheaper gasoline. Cheaper energy? Repeal of CO2 requirements? Carbon taxes? A host of regulations?

The fact remains, simply, that you may have won the tactical battle on wind but the strategic landscape won't be much effected.

Sep 4, 2012 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

Mike Fowle:

I think it was someone on this site who recommended Thomas Sowell - The Vision of the Anointed, which I have just read. May I thank whoever it was for putting me on to such a powerfully argued study. Superb

It wasn't me but I'd agree that Sowell is a terrific antidote to the lies and spin of the modern world, of which Stern is just another recent example. In 'The Anointed' we have an alternative and powerful way to think about the elites that are often the targets of conspiracy theories from the less sophisticated. Note that to do justice to his theme Sowell takes a term full of connotations from both parts of the Judaeo-Christian scriptures. Indeed, Christ-ian includes Anointed as its initial morpheme in Greek - a concept taken straight from Hebrew's Messiah but seen as fulfilled, to the fury of the elites of the day, who do indeed conspire together, in a humble carpenter from Nazareth. Perhaps there is something to ponder here, whatever worldview one is starting from. Some ideas just don't seem to go away.

Sep 4, 2012 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Cameron should have axed this Quango but bottled out.

Sep 4, 2012 at 8:09 AM | toad

Cameron is an Eton mess.

Sep 4, 2012 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

The hockeystick was a tactical masterstroke too.

Sep 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

RE: The September 4, 2012 piece titled 'Stern Exposed' on Peter Lilley's response to the Stern Report.

The problem with the report goes away past the economics of decarbonization.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that decarbonization will have no effect whatsoever on the global climate.

The journal Global and Planetary Change released a new peer-reviewed research paper on August 30, 2012 titled:

'The phase relation between atmospheric carbon dioxide andglobal temperature' -- CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING URL:

The phase relation between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature

This paper shows that the primary driver of current increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing temperature / not the other way round.

It follows that recent carbon dioxide emissions from human activity have not been driving the increase in the global temperature during the last three decades -- the period used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the 'human caused climate change industry' to generate anxiety with the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis that has influenced governments to spend massive amounts f taxpayer's dollars to study and remedy what what is now increasingly understood to be natural cyclic (warming and cooling) climate change.

Quoting from the Abstract of the paper: "Ice cores show atmospheric CO2 variations to lag behind atmospheric temperature changes on a century
to millennium scale, but modern temperature is expected to lag changes in atmospheric CO2, as the atmospheric temperature increase since about 1975 generally is assumed to be caused by the modern increase in CO2."

The paper shows the expectation that "atmospheric temperature increase since about 1975 generally is assumed to be caused by the modern increase in CO2" is incorrect as changes in CO2 consistently lagged changes in temperature between January 1980 and December 2011.

Peter Salonius

New Brunswick, CANADA

Sep 4, 2012 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Salonius

Sep 4, 2012 at 6:11 PM | Peter Salonius>>>

I can't see the URL you refer to!

Sep 4, 2012 at 6:48 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

I just got it! Wonder how much of the Bishop's humour I miss.

"Stern exposed"


Sep 4, 2012 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

Clearly Stern's report is a chaper in that religion's bible.
Sep 4, 2012 at 11:18 AM Peter Stroud

When the history of the Great Delusion finally comes to be written, Stern will merit a fat chapter.

Sep 4, 2012 at 9:16 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Richard Tol:

The hockeystick was a tactical masterstroke too.

And it even looks like a boomerang.

Sep 4, 2012 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Is the error spotted by Chris Hope indicative of the fact that the GWPF report was subject to "pal review" rather than a formalized process of peer review?

Sep 5, 2012 at 7:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichieRich

Bishop at Delingpole... Well done, BH!

."..Says Montford (and gosh how it does the heart good to see this mild-mannered fellow getting so righteously, viciously angry!) .....Andrew Montford suggests at his Bishop Hill blog, there are few men who have had quite such a deleterious effect on our lives as this dreary ex-civil servant now known – to those few who do know of him – as Lord Stern."

Sep 5, 2012 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

I have posted this response to Chris Hope's query on his website:

Dear Chris
Thank you for querying the figures I attribute to the PAGE2002 Impact Assessment Model.
In fact the figures I quote do come from your model – Figure 5 on page of your explanatory article The Marginal Impact of CO2 from PAGE2002: An Integrated Assessment Model Incorporating the IPCC’s Five Reasons for Concern. They are line 7 and refer to India so my paragraph should have read:

“The model is given a range of assumptions of impacts on the GDP of each geographic area for a 2.5°C rise in temperature. Thus, IN INDIA a 2.5°C temperature rise is deemed to reduce GDP by between 1.5% and 4% - with a median 2% loss. The loss is then set to increase as a power of temperature ranging between linear and cube – averaging 1.3.”

The words IN INDIA somehow got erased and I will reinstate them in future versions especially as it then makes more sense.

You also single out India in your excellent presentation to the Yale Symposium – page 48 where you point out that though “adaptation reduces impacts by 90% in OECD countries” it reduces it by only “50% in India”. That was the point I was referring to in the second quote to which you refer. Please correct me if I have misinterpreted your model, but as I understand it, even when India and other poor countries which constitute the bulk of the world reach current OECD levels of development they will still be deemed to adapt only by 50% not by 90%?

I am sorry if you thought I was trying to misrepresent your model. Far from it. The clarity and transparency with which you present all your assumptions and equations stood out as a model which I only wish others on all sides of this debate would emulate. So I regret all the more that a proofing error – mea culpa – led to that impression.

Best regards

Peter Lilley

Sep 5, 2012 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Lilley

Sprayfoam can be installed to the ceiling of the crawl space and then vented to the outside,
or you can install it to the walls of the crawl space connected to the plastic covering the floor and have an unvented space.
If there is a high water table then a sump pump may be needed as well. I am on the road right now and don't have access to my files but go to buildingscience.
com and read the articles about basements and crawl spaces. Lotsa good info and descriptions on how to use sprayfoam in those areas.

please follow

crawl space vent

Sep 6, 2012 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered Commentershafiqurkalo

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