BBC Radio 4 conducted an investigation of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, and came away unimpressed. While the Stern Review received signficiant press attention, it did not receive serious journalistic scrutiny. As the BBC report summarizes:
The report may have been loved by the politicians and headline writers but when climate scientists and environmental economists read the 670-page review, many said there were serious flaws.
These critics are not climate change sceptics, but researchers with years of experience who believe that human-induced climate change is real and that we need to act now.
Among those who are unimpressed is noted Carnegie Mellon environmental economist Richard Tol, whose work is cited extensively within the Stern Review:
"If a student of mine were to hand in this report as a Masters thesis, perhaps if I were in a good mood I would give him a 'D' for diligence; but more likely I would give him an 'F' for fail.
"There is a whole range of very basic economics mistakes that somebody who claims to be a Professor of Economics simply should not make," he told The Investigation on BBC Radio 4. . . .
"Stern consistently picks the most pessimistic for every choice that one can make. He overestimates through cherry-picking, he double counts particularly the risks and he underestimates what development and adaptation will do to impacts," he said.
Another critic of the Stern Review cited by the BBC is Yale's Robert Mendelsohn, who has written a brief yet fairly thorough critique of the report available here. While much of the debate over the Stern Review has focused on Stern's approach to disconting, Mendelsohn (like Tol) shows that the report's failings are much deeper. Among other things, Stern makes embeds many unrealistic or unfounded assumptions into his analysis that skew his results. The BBC story also reports that many of Stern's premises and claims are not supported by the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).