Climate Change Could Cost Countries 20% of GDP

The British newspaper, The Independent, is reporting on a meeting yesterday of Tony Blair’s cabinet where they heard a presentation by Sir Nicholas Stern–a former World Bank economist–indicating that the effects of climate change will likely have substantial negative impact on the world’s economies.

Sir Nicholas was asked by Gordon Brown to prepare a report on the economic consequences of climate change, which will be released on Monday.

According to the article, the numbers presented by Sir Nicholas were staggering. If a dramatic reversal of course is not taken in the next 15 years countries could be spending upwards of 20% of their gross domestic product on various environmental catastrophes.

Blair is hoping that the economic analysis of Sir Nicholas will convince the United States–the largest emitter of greenhouse gases–to soften its stance on joining international agreements to mitigate climate change. Whether Bush can be convinced of the severity of the issue is questionable. Nevertheless, the report is likely to be a major topic of conversation at next month’s UN Climate Change Conference in Nairobi.

The US will likely have an observer delegation in Nairobi, but I haven’t been able to figure out who will be leading it. There are some North American youth activists travelling to Africa to join with global youth participating in the conference. Follow their blog as the conference commences next month.