Ever since its publication, the Stern review has been discussed critically. Last week a conservative MP, Peter Lilley, has published a highly critical report "What is wrong with Stern?
The Failings of the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change" on the website of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Richard Tol has written a foreword from which I quote two paragraphs:
The publication of the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change was a PR exercise that was unprecedented in economics. 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 was presented as independent, although he was a senior Treasury official and had been a civil servant, first with international organisations, and latterly in the UK, for 12 years and was supported by a team of civil servants. The Stern Review was claimed to be the first ever economic analysis of and justification for climate policy, although similar studies had been published since the 1980s.Overly ambitious emission reduction in the short run, as embraced by the European Union and the United Kingdom, is needlessly expensive. It is also divisive, particularly when based on flawed analysis like that in the Stern Review. It will take a century to solve the climate problem. Most economic studies conclude that it is best to start with modest emission reduction, and accelerate the stringency of climate policy over time. For that, public policy will need to pull into the same direction over 20 or more electoral cycles. If the case for climate policy is exaggerated, the backlash will come, sooner or later. The Stern Review was a tactical masterstroke, but it will likely prove to be a strategic blunder. Its academic value is zero.
This is not an appeal to authority but to the merit of arguments. But in case you did not know it is perhaps worth pointing out that Richard Tol is one of the most important climate economists, judging by the number of peer reviewed papers and their impact. His endorsement of Lilley's is therefore quite significant.