Report: Climate Change Weighs on Economy

Climate change in the 21st century could bring on a global economic disaster akin to the Great Depression, warns a new report from the British government. The study concludes that it would cost less to take strong action against climate change than to react to changes as they unfold.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has long championed taking steps to combat climate change. He commissioned the latest report a year ago, after hosting the G8 summit of industrial leaders in Scotland.

Monday, Blair said the analysis is the most important report about the future ever published under his leadership. The economic disaster foreseen in the report is due to the likelihood of crop-killing droughts, the spread of tropical disease and coastal flooding as sea level rises.

Most climate change is driven by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, which puts carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The report's analysis finds that to avert potential disaster, greenhouse gas emissions will need to be reduced by a staggering 80 percent.

Sir Nicholas Stern, who is the primary author of the 700-page report, says it makes economic sense to get started now. He says the first step is to convince governments around the world, including the reluctant United States, that they should share a sense of urgency about global warming.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.