$1,000,000,000,000: the cost of capping greenhouse gas emissions

The cost of curbing the soaring emissions of harmful gases that are blamed for causing global warming has been estimated at US$1 trillion by a major study of the cost of climate change.

The volume of emissions of the gases that cause global warming will double by 2050 unless rich countries agree to take significant policy steps to cut energy use, it shows.

The report, by PricewaterhouseCoopers, lays bare the potential damage to the environment of the industrial revolution in China and India. It puts a price of $1 trillion on the cost of sorting out the problem spread over the next generation.

This is less than the cost in terms of environmental catastrophe and loss of life that scientists fear will happen as temperatures and sea levels rise. "It is implicit from our findings that a trillion dollars certainly is a cost worth incurring," said John Hawksworth, the chief economist at PwC and author of the report.

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