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Managing Climate Change. Climate, Growth and Equitable Development

Nicholas Stern

Presentation of Nicholas Stern

Pierre Corvol

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1Dear colleague,
Dear Nicholas Stern,

2If there is one topical issue that is especially relevant to our generation and even more so to the following ones, it is assuredly climate change and its multiple consequences on health, the economy, energy resources, and the water and carbon cycles.

3You have been dealing with these issues for many years. After graduating from Oxford University with a PhD in economics, you were appointed professor at Warwick University, and then taught at the London School of Economics, where you returned to teach following a detour in economic policy. You have held key positions in the economic sector as Chief Economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, then as Chief Economist and Vice-President of the World Bank from 2000 to 2003. You have held significant responsibilities in the British economic administration, particularly as Head of the Government Economic Service from 2005 to 2007.

  • 1 . C. J. Bliss & N. Stern, Palanpur: The Economy of an Indian village, Oxford, Oxford University Pre (...)

4Your favourite scientific theme is public economics. You have always shown an interest in development issues. You most likely became sensitive to these questions in the 1970s, during a year spent in an Indian village, Palanpur, to study the consequences of the green revolution. You wrote about this experience in a fascinating book1, and Palanpur became a place of regular observation for you.

5Your research and your publications are devoted to the economics of climate change, economic development and growth, economic theory, tax reforms, the role of the State and transition economies. You have authored or co-authored important economic policy reports, including the one in 2005 on Africa and, in 2006, the “Stern report” on the economic repercussions of global warming, which was exceptionally well received. In particular, this report assesses the cost of inaction.

6You are convinced that “if climate change is not controlled, it will drain and reverse the development process”, and add that “we will not manage to fight climate change if we give the impression that this fight is detrimental to development”. Your chair, entitled “Managing Climate Change and Promoting Growth, Development and Equity”, is part of a cycle of Annual Chairs funded by Total, on the general theme: Sustainable Development – Environment, Energy and Society. It follows on from Henri Leridon’s teachings on demographics.

7I am therefore happy to welcome you, and also very honoured to host the first professor who is a Lord of her Gracious Majesty, here at the Collège de France.


1 . C. J. Bliss & N. Stern, Palanpur: The Economy of an Indian village, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1982.

© Collège de France, 2010

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