World Bank’s Stern: Unchecked global warming will lead to deep economic crisis

Former World Bank Chief Economist, Sir Nicholas Stern, reiterated Oct. 27 that failure to confront global warming will result in a much more dire economic crisis than today’s financial meltdown. Many of the losses could occur on our public lands in the form of drought, disease, degradation of our forests, watersheds and biodiversity to the point where natural systems can no longer support the human communities that depend on them, according to leading scientists.

“The risk consequences of ignoring climate change will be very much bigger than the consequences of ignoring risks in the financial system,” Stern said at a climate and carbon conference in Hong Kong.

The risks include losing up to one-fifth of the world’s gross domestic product — an amount typically associated with a world war — and an increase in conflict as people are forced to move their homes. Stern suggested government efforts to stimulate the world economy could easily focus on promoting climate friendly industries and green technologies.