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For centuries, fossil fuels have been associated with prosperity, progress, and growth. But more and more economists say that the continued use of coal, oil, and gas is now driving the world in the opposite direction — toward a lower standard of living and a global economic slump.

A new report from the consulting firm Deloitte, released during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday, found that if the world stayed on its current course, it would cost $178 trillion over the next 50 years. For perspective, roughly $500 trillion of wealth exists on Earth today. On the other hand, swift action to zero out global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 could add $43 trillion to the global economy over the same period and, according to the analysis, plant the seeds for a green Industrial Revolution.

“Economics is on the side of a low-emissions future,” Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte Global, wrote in the report’s introduction, declaring that a coordinated, worldwide investment in climate action would “pay handsome dividends for the global economy.”

Deloitte’s report says that if the world warmed by 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 Fahrenheit) compared to ... Read more

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