Climate change real economic risk: World Bank

MOSCOW (AFP) - The president of the World Bank warned finance chiefs of the world's leading economic powers that global warming is a real risk to the planet and already affecting the world economy in unprecedented ways.

Adressing the Group of 20 finance ministers at their meeting in Moscow, Mr Jim Yong Kim called on the world powers to "tackle the serious challenges presented by climate change."

"These are not just risks. They represent real consequences," he said, calling the lack of attention to the issue by finance ministers and central bank chiefs "a mistake".

He said failing to tackle the challenges of climate change risked having "serious consequences for the economic outlook".

"Damages and losses from natural disasters have more than tripled over the past 30 years," he said, giving as examples the US$45 billion (S$55.7 billion) of losses from the 2011 floods in Thailand, whose effects "spread across borders disrupting international supply chains".

"Years of development efforts are often wiped out in days or even minutes," the World Bank president said. He asked the G-20 to "face climate change, which is a very real and present danger".

The G-20 finance ministers' agenda in Moscow is dominated by concerns about competitive currency devaluations and a new drive by European Union powers to force big business to pay a fair share of tax.

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