31 January 2010

Robert Muir-Wood on the Stern Report

Robert Muir-Wood is quoted in today's Sunday Times on how the Stern Review Report used his work. Muir-Wood was a valuable participant in our 2006 Hohenkammer workshop. It is unfortunate that both IPCC and Stern chose to misuse his work, which has placed Muir-Wood in a difficult position. Here is what the Times reports today (emphasis added):
Robert Muir-Wood, head of research at Risk Management Solutions, a US-based consultancy, said the Stern report misquoted his work to suggest a firm link between global warming and the frequency and severity of disasters such as floods and hurricanes.

The Stern report, citing Muir-Wood, said: “New analysis based on insurance industry data has shown that weather-related catastrophe losses have increased by 2% each year since the 1970s over and above changes in wealth, inflation and population growth/movement.

“If this trend continued or intensified with rising global temperatures, losses from extreme weather could reach 0.5%-1% of world GDP by the middle of the century.”

Muir-Wood said his research showed no such thing and accused Stern of “going far beyond what was an acceptable extrapolation of the evidence”.

The criticism is among the strongest made of the Stern report, which, since its publication in 2006, has influenced policy, including green taxes.

Here is Stern's spokesman's odd response to Muir-Wood's comments:
A spokesman for Stern said: “Muir-Wood may have been deceived by his own observations.”
My published critique of Stern's dodgy disaster dossier can be found here:
Pielke, Jr., R. A., 2007. Mistreatment of the economic impacts of extreme events in the Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change, Global Environmental Change, Vol. 17, pp. 302-310.