Failure to tackle the problem of climate change could trigger a worldwide economic slowdown along the same level as the Great Depression, warns a new report from a British economist.
Written by former World Bank economist Sir Nicholas Stern at the request of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the 700-page report was released on Monday.
“Our actions over the coming decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century,” says the report.
Failure to immediately tackle climate change could see global economic growth shrink by 20 per cent and cost the world economy close to $7 trillion US, warns Stern.
The report suggests other effects could include:
-200 million new refugees as people are displaced by severe flooding or droughts.
-Water shortages for one in six people.
-A spike in world temperatures of up to 5 C.
-Melting glaciers that could lead to water shortages.
-20 to 40 per cent of wildlife species to become extinct.
The international community must immediately spend one per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) to address the issue of climate change within 10 to 15 years, said Stern.