Stern Report

Via Green Car Congress:

HM Treasury (UK) UK today published the much-anticipated Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change, the most comprehensive review yet carried out on the economics of climate change.

Something which I find disturbing is this:

The climate is a public good: those who fail to pay for it cannot be excluded from enjoying its benefits and one person’s enjoyment of the climate does not diminish the capacity of others to enjoy it too. Markets do not automatically provide the right type and quantity of public goods, because in the absence of public policy there are limited or no returns to private investors for doing so: in this case, markets for relevant goods and services (energy, land use, innovation, etc) do not reflect the consequences of different consumption and investment choices for the climate. Thus, climate change is an example of market failure involving externalities and public goods. Given the magnitude and nature of the effects initially described in the previous chapter and taken forward in Parts II and III, it has profound implications for economic growth and development. All in all, it must be regarded as market failure on the greatest scale the world has seen. (ital. added, CH2, p. 25)

Right. Global suffering. Oil based economies and their wars. The abandonment of two fifths of the world’s population. None of these are ‘market failures’? There is much rhetoric of ‘market failure’ in the report. As if the ‘market’ were a machine that provided certain outcomes that were not purely, totally, and completely organised by the continual asymmetrical redistribution of wealth?

2 replies on “Stern Report”

  1. Agreed. The strange thing is Glen – I didn’t even pick it up, it seemed so reasonable!

  2. sw3ff! 2 l333t! I am 2 l333k. f00l4

    hmm, it is an economics report, so the writers can say things like “climate change is an example of market failure involving externalities and public goods.” Which is funny and a little sad. The environment is an externality! Yet it is intrinsic to the survival of anything on this planet, well at least the maintenance of the current situation (could have roaches n shit running around I spose).

    One of the cultural materialists who writes about automobility uses the economic terminology of “externalities” to talk about the complexity of the system of automobility. Everything that is not intentionally caused by the primary function of the car is an externality. whatevas

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