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A Note on the Ethical Implications of the Stern Review

Kenny, Charles (2007): A Note on the Ethical Implications of the Stern Review.

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Abstract

The Stern Review adopts two interesting elements in its calculation of the costs and benefits of climate change mitigation. First is a ‘global welfarist’ approach that values the utility of the World’s people (now and into the future) equally, and sets global utility maximization as the correct goal for policy. Second is an assumption of a declining marginal utility to income. Consistent application of the ‘global welfarist’ approach and the declining marginal utility of income together would demand an urgent process of global income redistribution. Over the long term, this might see the richest ten percent of the World’s population facing an average redistributive tax rate in the region of 82 percent.

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