“Spend billions now to save trillions in the future”. That is the summary of the Stern report that caught my ear on ABC radio.

The key sentences are:

Using the results from formal economic models, the Review estimates that if we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20% of GDP or more.

“In contrast, the costs of action – reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – can be limited to around 1% of global GDP each year.

“The investment that takes place in the next 10-20 years will have a profound effect on the climate in the second half of this century and in the next. Our actions now and over the coming decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century. And it will be difficult or impossible to reverse these changes.

Treasurer Peter Costello made the point that there is “no point” in Australia reducing its greenhouse emissions unless really big emitters, like China and India, do so also. Clearly much scope for international economic diplomacy Treasurer – you too could do something really useful.

And while you are thinking about that, would you please release the Australian Treasury’s assessment of the Stern report?

Click here to read the full report, or click here to read the BBC summary – this is a must read, must think about, must act on report.

Read more at Henry Thornton.