Climate change could tilt the world’s economy into the worst global recession in recent history, a major report will warn next week. Sir Nicholas Stern, a former chief economist with the World Bank, will warn that governments need to tackle the problem head-on by cutting emissions or face economic ruin.
The findings, due to be released next Monday, will turn economic argument about global warming on its head by insisting that fighting global warming will save industrial nations money. The US has so far refused to join the Kyoto protocol, the international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions, because George Bush said it would harm the economy.
Sir David King, the British government’s chief scientific adviser, who has seen a copy of the report has given the Guardian a preview of its main findings “All of [Stern’s] detailed modelling out to the year 2100 is going to indicate first of all that if we don’t take global action we are going to see a massive downturn in global economies.”
He added: “If no action is taken we will be faced with the kind of downturn that has not been seen since the great depression and the two world wars.” Sir David called the review “the most detailed economic analysis that I think has yet been conducted”.
The review will highlight the threat of sea level rise. Sir David said: “If you look at sea level rises alone and the impact that will have on global economies where cities are becoming inundated by flooding … this will cause the displacement of … hundreds of millions of people.”