Climate Change Will Cost Even More than Estimated, Economist Says

The pricetag on fighting global warming has gotten even higher, according to a British economist.

Nicholas Stern, who received a 400,000-euro ($530,000) Spanish award for his 2006 study that assessed the economic implications of climate change, says the costs are higher than he previously estimated.

In his comprehensive economic analysis, Stern contends that it would be more economical to combat climate change than to do nothing. He found that world economic growth would shrink by at least 20 percent if no action were taken against climate change, while a more proactive approach through reduced emissions would cost only one percent of global output.

He received the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Science Award for his work on the study.

But things have changed since 2006, Stern said.

“The cost of cutting back emissions is more than we estimated, but that is because the consequences of climate change are already here,” the economist said, according to the BBVA Foundation.

“Emissions are rising rapidly, and the capacity of the ocean to absorb carbon is less than we thought. Also, other effects, particularly the melting of the polar ice, seem to be happening much faster. We need to take more drastic steps, so the costs will inevitably be higher.”

There’s still plenty of economic incentive to tackle climate change, he said.

“Climate change economics is the next industrial revolution. The countries who invest now in this new growth market will gain the advantage of a first mover. Those who don’t risk being left behind.”

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