With the economic case for tackling climate change stronger than ever, the financial crisis provides an opportunity, not an obstacle, says Nicholas Stern.

The purpose of this report is not to prescribe specific instruments or technologies. Different technologies and different policy instruments can be applied to different sectors and countries. Indeed, the more differentiated the global strategy, the greater the scope for learning, so it is important not to be unduly prescriptive on the details of policy action.

There is now clear scientific evidence that emissions from economic activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels for energy, are causing changes to the Earth's climate. A sound understanding of the economics of climate change is needed in order to underpin an effective global response to this challenge. The Stern Review is an independent, rigorous and comprehensive analysis of the economic aspects of this crucial issue.