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On the economics, in a section titled "Why some economists got it so badly wrong", he dismisses in two pages the economists, more distinguished and expert in the field than he is, who criticised his Review. Rather than explaining why this consensus is wrong, Stern mounts his high horse and claims that the economists who disagree with him do so because they are morally obtuse. This is comical. Lawson aptly compares him to Dickens's immortal creation, Mrs Jellyby in Bleak House.

Stern speaks the language of international do-goodism as only a lifelong practitioner can. We must offer the world's poorest people a low-carbon path out of poverty. Development and saving the planet are not conflicting goals — they can only be accomplished simultaneously. All that is needed is a grand "global deal". This global deal merely requires international collaboration on an unprecedented scale, well-designed policies that are implemented with great care immediately and pursued with unwavering commitment for 40 years, and a vast redistribution of wealth from rich to poor countries.  In short, international central planning run by people bearing a remarkable resemblance to Lord Stern.

Stern's global deal looks to me like a series of Heath Robinson contraptions that must be made to run in perfect harmony. I'm not surprised that the Labour government finds it an alluring prospect, but I am disturbed that the intellectual adolescents now leading the Conservative Party have found an agreeable guru in Stern as well. 

The Tories would in my view do much better if they listened to the sage advice of one of their soundest leaders of the past half century — the former Energy Secretary and Chancellor, Nigel Lawson.    

But that may soon happen. Since the Tory leaders base their leadership on what the polls and focus groups tell them to do, even they will eventually recognise that the fad has peaked. Although global warning alarmism is still an article of faith for the chattering class, the general public have never been sold on it and are now becoming painfully aware of the staggering costs to them of reducing emissions.   

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