China's $9 trillion global warming problem

If Chinese premier Hu Jintao had any doubts about taking an aggressive stance to enforce carbon-emission reductions at the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Summit, a report today may push him over the edge. A detailed analysis of the potential economic impacts of rapid global warming, put together by insurance-industry experts and underwritten by the World Wildlife Fund and insurance giant Allianz, found that China stands to suffer a whopping $9 trillion in economic damage by 2050.

The U.S. followed closely behind, with $7 trillion in potential damage, and India took the third spot with $3 trillion in potential environmental damage. The study was notable in that it was performed by experts in insurance and actuarial research, rather than climate researchers, which implies more objectivity and financial-industry rigor.