Forum - The Stern review: implications for construction
Shipworth, D. (2007) Forum - The Stern review: implications for construction. Building Research and Information, 35 (4 (Special). pp. 478-484. ISSN 0961-3218
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/09613210701330123
The SternReview(2006) on the economics of climate change has changed the ground onwhich arguments over climate change are fought. In making the economic case for mitigation over adaptation, Stern has sought to undermine one of the primary arguments against decisive early action - that the immediate costs outweigh the long-term benefits. While this argument is made at the global level, it is appropriate to ask what implications Stern's arguments might have at the construction sectoral level. The implications of the Stern Review for construction can be divided into three main questions. How construction would be different if Stern's economics were applied? How would construction companies act differently if Stern's ethics were adopted? How will the political response to the Stern Review change construction's policy and regulatory landscape? The impact of the Review has shifted the debate from the natural science community into the public policy domain and onto an economic rationale. There seems to have been a pronounced shift away from the debate over the science and towards the economics of mitigation versus adaptation. In this context, the academic debate over Stern's methods is irrelevant - it is his findings, authority and use of the hegemonic power of economic argument that carry the day. This is likely to be Stern's true legacy, and through this will come his greatest impact on construction.