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Climate Change: Costs

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the evidential basis was for the Prime Minister's statement at the Major Economics Forum on 19 October 2009, that the economic cost of failure to avoid the current effects of climate change could lead to an economic cost greater than the losses caused by two world wars and the Great Depression; and what estimate he has made of the global financial cost of (a) World War I, (b) the Great Depression and (c) World War II (i) as a percentage of gross domestic products and (ii) in real terms. (296795)

The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change published on 30 October 2006, states that, if the wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, then the estimates of damage from climate change could rise to 20 per cent. of global GDP or more. The review concludes that ignoring climate change could lead to major disruption to economic and social activity later in this century and 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. The Stern Review is available at: