The British economist Stern, noted for his leadership of a major report on climate change for then Chancellor of the Exchequer (and now Prime Minister) Gordon Brown, draws on that and more recent material to argue for global action to avert severe and, in Stern's view, severely dangerous climate change and, in the process, lay the technological and economic foundations for new industries. The proposal calls for at least an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050, based on quantitative emissions targets applicable to developed countries right away and to developing countries by 2020. It would entail very large annual transfers ($75 billion is mentioned, illustratively) to developing countries, brought about partly through international trade in emissions permits (these transfers are, Stern argues, necessary to gain developing countries' cooperation, as well as desirable on grounds of equity). How favoritism and corruption in the allocation of valuable emissions permits and a massive diversion of entrepreneurial energy toward rent seeking are to be avoided in this ambitious proposal is, unhappily, not seriously addressed.
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