Press Release: Nobel Prize Recipient Dr. Joseph E. Stiglitz Calls for Immediate Action Against Climate Change

For Immediate Release:  
October 11, 2001

Contact: Katie Mandes
703-516-4146

Nobel Prize Recipient Dr. Joseph E. Stiglitz Calls for Immediate Action Against Climate Change

Dr. Joseph E. Stiglitz, co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics, called on governments today to join in a comprehensive global strategy to address the long-term threat of global climate change.

In a keynote address at a workshop sponsored by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Dr. Stiglitz said that despite uncertainties over the pace and precise impacts of climate change, governments can and should take immediate cost-effective steps to begin reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

"Climate change is probably the most important environmental problem we face in the world," Dr. Stiglitz told 40 scientists, economists and other experts at the Pew Center's Workshop on the Timing of Climate Change Policies. "We need a framework for collective action."

Dr. Stiglitz, a professor of economics at Columbia University, was one of three U.S. economists awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Wednesday for their seminal work on the role of "asymmetric information" in markets. He previously served as chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers and as chief economist at the World Bank.

"We congratulate Dr. Stiglitz on his prestigious award and are delighted that he could share with us his keen insights on the challenge of climate change - particularly on what is such a remarkable day for him," said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

In a paper presented at the workshop, Dr. Stiglitz and his co-authors explored the challenges of crafting a global strategy to address climate change given uncertainties in the science and economics and the diverse and conflicting interests of nations.

The paper states, "A global consensus now exists that climate change represents a significant potential threat to the world's well-being&Put simply, we favor immediate action," the authors state. "Although policymakers are forced to make decisions under uncertainty, they can undertake actions that help reduce this uncertainty. In particular, pursuing some emissions abatement policies now allows policy-makers to learn more about the costs of emission reduction."

The full text of his paper, co-authored with Peter R. Orszag of the Brookings Institution and Joseph E. Aldy of Harvard University, is available on the Pew Center website, www.c2es.org.

Dr. Stiglitz was introduced at the workshop by Dr. Kenneth J. Arrow of Stanford University, a previous recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics and a member of the Pew Center's board of directors.

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The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States' largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment. The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.