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A steel smelter in Russia's Nizhny Tagil (file photo) (ITAR-TASS)
October 30, 2006 -- Climate change threatens to cost more than either of the 20th century's world wars, or the Great Depression.
That is the conclusion of a major study commissioned by the British government that is due to be released today.
The 700-page study focuses on the economic -- not the environmental -- consequences of global warming, and is said to conclude that inaction could cost the world up to $7 trillion.
Prime Minister Tony Blair said today it is "the most important report on the future which I have received since becoming prime minister."
Combating climate change, the report says, will cost about 1 percent of global gross domestic product.
The report also calls for a successor to the Kyoto agreement on greenhouse gases to be signed next year -- not in 2010 or 2011, as planned -- because the problem is so urgent.
(compiled from agency reports)