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Climate change will cripple economies regardless of countries' wealth- report

By Kate Ryan

NEW YORK, Aug 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Climate change will damage the economies of countries whether they are rich or poor, hot or cold by the year 2100, economists said in a new report, dispelling the notion that impoverished, warm countries will suffer the most on a warming planet.

Researchers who examined data from 174 countries over 50 years found that persistent temperature changes above or below a country's historical norm adversely affected economic growth, regardless of how warm a country is.

The United States could see a 10% loss in gross domestic product (GDP) without significant policy change.

"In the UK we had the hottest day (ever) recorded a few days ago and infrastructure came to a halt," Dr. Kamiar Mohaddes, a co-author and a professor of economics at Cambridge University told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Tuesday.

"Trains aren't running, people aren't coping, and therefore productivity and economic growth falls."

Research has often focused on short-term devastation to poor, warm countries, but the report suggested that wealth and cooler temperatures are no protection from climate change's economic toll if major policy changes are not adopted.

In a "business as usual" scenario where climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions are not drastically lowered, the average global temperatures will increase by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 F) by 2100.

That would bring more than a 7% loss in world GDP per capita, said the study published on Monday by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, a non-profit economic research organization.

The 2015 Paris Agreement, a global pact to fight climate change agreed to by nearly 200 countries, aims to keep the Earth's temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F), striving for 1.5 degrees (2.7 F).

But even that would require a radical reduction of climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions, a landmark U.N. report found last year.

The economists' research focused on the United States due to its varied climates, and found that ignoring the Paris accord's goals would affect industries from manufacturing to agriculture, costing the United States more than 10% of its GDP per capita.

"The average American household will be poorer," Mohaddes said, and noted other industrialized countries could be similarly impacted.

Canada, which is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, could expect a 13% loss in income, while Switzerland could see a 12% cut and India would se a 10% GDP per capita drop.

But adhering to the Paris Agreement goals could hold the loss in the United States to under 2%, the report said.

U.S. President Donald Trump vowed in June, 2017 to pull the United States out of the international agreement, dealing a major blow to the effort to affect climate change. The earliest that could happen is November, 2020.

The report also suggested that while some countries are likely to adapt to climate change, they are unlikely to act in time to ward off all the negative effects to their economies.

"We need to have much stronger mitigation," said Mohaddes. "If we do commit to Paris, the losses are substantially lower. It's not too late."

Researchers from the universities of Cambridge, Southern California, Johns Hopkins, and the National Tsing hua University in Taiwan as well as the International Monetary Fund, contributed to the report. (Reporting by Kate Ryan. Editing by Chris Michaud

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Putin says U.S. is able to deploy new cruise missile in Europe

By Olesya Astakhova and Anne Kauranen

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the United States was now in a position to deploy a new land-based cruise missile in Romania and Poland, a scenario he considered a threat that Moscow would need to respond to.

The Pentagon said on Monday it had tested a conventionally-configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 km (310 miles) of flight, its first such test since the demise of a landmark nuclear pact this month.

The test followed the U.S. formally withdrawing from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) on Aug. 2 after accusing Moscow of violating it, a charge dismissed by the Kremlin.

Putin, speaking during a visit to Helsinki, said that Washington could potentially now use existing launch systems in Romania and Poland to fire the new missile, meaning it could deploy it easily and swiftly if it chose to.

"Launches of this missile can be carried out from (launch) systems already located in Romania and Poland. All you have to do is change the software. And I don't think our American partners will inform even the European Union about this. This entails new threats for us that we must react to," Putin said.

The test would have been banned under the INF, which prohibited land-based missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles, reducing the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.

The United States has said it has no imminent plans to deploy new land-based missiles in Europe.

Putin was speaking to reporters following talks with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö.

The Russian leader used a joint news conference to defend the authorities' response to a series of political protests in Moscow and to reassure people that an accident at a military testing site in northern Russia this month did not pose any threat to neighboring countries or people living nearby.


(Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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