Kiel Institute honors climate economist with Bernhard Harms Prize

Nicholas Stern

The work of Lord Nicholas Stern is considered a milestone in climate economics. In 2006, he modeled the economic consequences of climate change for the first time. If policymakers remain inactive, global GDP will fall by 5 percent in the long term as a result of climate change, and by as much as 20 percent in the worst case, according to his analysis. By contrast, decisive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, for example, can limit the loss to 1 percent.

He recommended three measures to slow down climate change that are now an integral part of the political and public debate on sustainable development. First, a pricing of CO2, second, promoting innovation to develop low-carbon technologies and third, increasing energy efficiency.

The study "The Economics of Climate Change," commissioned by the British government, made headlines around the world as the so-called "Stern Report." The British Queen honored him for his achievements the year after publication by making him an aristocrat.

"The Stern Review is more topical than ever, because it shows unequivocally that the benefits of strong and early action far outweigh the economic costs of not acting," said Kiel Institute President Gabriel Felbermayr on the reason for the awarding. And further: "For the jury, Lord Stern ist an outstanding global pioneer in the debate about the economic costs of climate change. It is not least thanks to his work that efficient economic incentives such as CO2 pricing are playing an increasingly important role in today's political debate on effective measures to limit CO2 emissions.“

The awarding of the Bernhard Harms Prize 2021 to Lord Nicholas Stern will take place on September 4, 2021 during the Kiel Lectures Day at Kiel Christian Albrechts University (CAU).

The Kiel Lectures Day is a joint initiative of CAU Kiel and the Kiel Institute to add another facet to Kiel as a science location through lectures by renowned personalities from science, politics and society. In addition to Lord Stern, the laureates of the Global Economy Prize 2021 will also speak, Prof. Xuemei Bai, Ph.D. (University of Canberra), Dr. Göran Persson (former Prime Minister of Sweden) and Prof. Dr. Michael Otto (Otto Group).

The awards ceremony is open to invited guests, and a limited number of seats are available for media representatives. Please register early for this at

The Bernhard Harms Prize of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy has been awarded every two years since 1964 and annually since 2020 and is endowed with 10,000 euros. The award honors scholars for exceptional research in global economics or practitioners for outstanding promotion of global economic relations. Past award winners include economists Carmen Reinhart (2018), Marc Melitz (2016), and Abhijit Banerjee (2014).

Bernhard Harms founded the Kiel Institute for World Economy in 1914 - at that time: Royal Institute of Shipping and World Economics.