EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas has lauded the Stern report on climate change, saying it has raised awareness of global warming.

The much-publicised report by economist Nicholas Stern, released on October 30, suggests that global warming could shrink the global economy by 20 per cent. It adds that taking action now would cost just one per cent of global GDP but that inaction would lead to devastating economic consequences.

“Up to now, we knew climate change was an environmental issue as well as a moral issue, since developing countries suffer more from its impact,” Dimas said before a meeting with Stern on Thursday. “The Stern report has shown that it is also an economic, social and political problem.” “The cost of inaction will be much greater than the cost of acting now,” Dimas insisted.

“And the later we act, the more expensive it will be.” The Stern report, commissioned by the UK government, is the first major contribution to the climate change debate by an economist rather than an environmental scientist.