Stern: global warming is happening at faster rate

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Global warming is happening at a far faster rate than the authoritative Stern Review on climate change suggested, its author, Sir Nicholas Stern said last night. He set out an action plan for the world's politicians who meet at a climate summit in Bali next week.

The Stern Review of the economics of global warming was, Sir Nicholas said, excessively conservative about factoring in a number of scientific hypotheses which growing evidence now suggests are serious factors in speeding global warming. "The evidence on the seriousness of the risks from inaction or delayed action is now overwhelming. We risk damages on a scale larger than the two world wars of the last century," he said.

"If I was doing it again I'd portray the risks as bigger," he said, taking questions at Manchester University after giving the Royal Economic Society lecture. He said his review may have under-estimated the costs involved in combating climate change.

He set out six points for Bali. Politicians must approve:

* 80 per cent reductions in global emissions by 2050;

* Better carbon-trading system;

* Major reform of Kyoto's Clean Development Mechanism;

* Anti-deforestation campaign;

* Rapid advance on technologies for electricity generation;

* 0.7 per cent GDP in aid from first to third world by 2015.

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