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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Climate change could cost the world economy more than $6 trillion unless drastic international action is taken now. That's the thrust of a major study commissioned by the British government being released today. From London, Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports.

STEPHEN BEARD: The study accepts that dramatic climate change is not certain to happen, but says the risk of its undeniable.

And the economic consequences could be dire: It could over time trigger the world's worst recession since the 1930s, shrinking the global economy by 20%.

The report calls for world greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by three quarters over the next 50 years. That would cost the global economy about 1% of its annual growth. Not a bad insurance policy says economist John Hawkesworth,

JOHN HAWKESWORTH: By giving up six to 12 months of economic growth in the long-term you can actually mitigate very significantly those risks. So just like taking out insurance on your house or whatever, it seems like a pretty good deal economically.

The British Government has backed the study and appointed former U.S. Vice President Al Gore as an adviser, a clear attempt to win more American support for the battle against climate change.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.