Study warns of stark costs of failing to counter climate change

The report, regarded by experts as the most authoritative assessment yet of the costs of climate change, will argue that the developed economies, led by the US, face far higher costs if they do not act.

Sir Nicholas gave a private briefing on his review to a meeting of leaders of the world's 20 most polluting nations in Mexico yesterday. The report is said to be framed so that the Bush administration recognises it will not cost the earth to solve climate change, but will cost the earth literally and financially if it does not.

Speaking on the opening day of the conference Margaret Beckett, the foreign secretary, said: "It is sound economic sense to respond to climate change and economic nonsense not to."

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