By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent in Copenhagen
9:20PM GMT 12 Mar 2009
Climate change could cost trillions of pounds and lead to worldwide social unrest and decades of war, warned one of Britain’s leading economists as he accused politicians of underestimating the scale of the problem.
Lord Stern, whose report on the social and economic costs of global warming acted as a wake up call to the world in 2006, said the effects were worse than he originally thought and that the consequences could be “devastating”.
He said that increases of average temperature of four, five or even six degrees by the end of the century were becoming an increasing possibility and would produce conditions not seen on Earth for more than 30 million years.
That could mean massive rises in sea level, whole areas devastated by hurricanes and others turned to inhabitable desert, he claimed – the results of which would force billions of people to leave their homelands.
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