Stern Report ‘Misused’ Climate Study

  • Date: 31/01/10

Lord Stern’s report on climate change, which underpins government policy, has come under fire from a disaster analyst who says the research he contributed was misused.

Robert Muir-Wood, head of research at Risk Management Solutions, a US-based consultancy, said the Stern report misquoted his work to suggest a firm link between global warming and the frequency and severity of disasters such as floods and hurricanes.

The Stern report, citing Muir-Wood, said: “New analysis based on insurance industry data has shown that weather-related catastrophe losses have increased by 2% each year since the 1970s over and above changes in wealth, inflation and population growth/movement.

“If this trend continued or intensified with rising global temperatures, losses from extreme weather could reach 0.5%-1% of world GDP by the middle of the century.”

Muir-Wood said his research showed no such thing and accused Stern of “going far beyond what was an acceptable extrapolation of the evidence”.

The criticism is among the strongest made of the Stern report, which, since its publication in 2006, has influenced policy, including green taxes.

Muir-Wood’s study did show an association between global warming and the impact and frequency of disasters. But he said this was caused by exceptionally strong hurricanes in the final two years of his study.

A spokesman for Stern said: “Muir-Wood may have been deceived by his own observations.”

The Sunday Times, 31 January 2010

 

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