Select Committee on Economic Affairs Second Report


The Economic Affairs Committee has decided to conduct an inquiry into 'Aspects of the Economics of Climate Change'.

Evidence is invited by 31 March 2005. The Committee will welcome written submissions on any or all of the issues set out below.

Following the recent ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the Committee has decided to inquire first into the ways in which the problem of climate change has been assessed.

  • How are the current estimates of the scale of climate change damage derived?
  • How far do the estimates of damage depend on assumptions about future global economic growth, and how valid are those growth assumptions?
  • How does uncertainty about the scale of the problem and its impact affect the economics of climate change?

The Committee will also inquire into the key role of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in compiling and assessing technical information on climate change.

  • What has been the approach within the IPCC to the economic aspects of climate change, and how satisfactory has it been?
  • Is there sufficient collaboration between scientific and economic research?
  • Could IPCC member governments, and the UK in particular, do more in future to contribute to the robustness of the economic analysis?

The Committee then plans to go on to consider the question of who bears the brunt of climate change and of the costs of controlling it.

  • In monetary terms, the impact of change and the costs of control may be greater in rich countries than poor ones. But is this an adequate measure?
  • What would be the relative costs and benefits of using resources, otherwise expected to be allocated to climate change control, instead to expand international development assistance?
  • When are damages likely to occur and how satisfactory is the economic approach to dealing with costs and benefits that are distant in time?
  • What other associated benefits might there be from reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

At this stage the Committee does not intend to investigate the comparative merits of different policies for the control of climate change.

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