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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Warning on Climate Change

LONDON -- Unchecked global warming will devastate the world economy on the scale of the world wars and the Great Depression, a major report said Monday, as Britain launched a bid to convince doubters that environmentalism and economic growth can go hand in hand.

Introducing the report, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said unabated climate change would eventually cost the world the equivalent of from 5 percent to 20 percent of global gross domestic product each year. He called for "bold and decisive action" to cut carbon emissions and stem the worst of the temperature rise.

Report author Sir Nicholas Stern, a senior government economist, said acting now to cut greenhouse gas emissions would cost about 1 percent of global GDP each year.

"That is manageable," he said. "We can grow and be green."

Blair, Stern and Treasury chief Gordon Brown, who commissioned the Stern report, emphasized that the battle against global warming could only succeed with the cooperation of major countries such as the United States and China.

The report by Stern, a former chief World Bank economist, represents a huge contrast to the U.S. government's wait-and-see global warming policies.

U.S. President George W. Bush kept the United States -- by far the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming -- out of the Kyoto international treaty to reduce greenhouse gases, saying the pact would harm the U.S. economy.

The international agreement was reached in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 and expires in 2012.

Brown, who is expected to replace Blair as prime minister next year, announced Monday that former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who has emerged as a powerful environmental spokesman, would advise the British government on climate change.