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United States

US turning back on global warming

With a major push under way to finalise international global warming agreements by year's end, the pendulum of US opinion is swinging back towards "no action is necessary." Under a headline "Warming not a global problem," a recent article in a major US newspaper quoted economists and scientists who say that, in the temperate Western World at least, agricultural output will actually increase because of more carbon dioxide, which will in turn boost national income. The US and western Europe will thus see gains of 1-3% in national income by 2050, says the Columbia University Global Systems Initiative. But the impact of global warming will be disastrous for countries such as India which will face a concomitant 30% in income loss. "For the United States and other temperate countries, earlier worries of significant negative effects are dissipating somewhat," says Larry Williams of the utility funded Electric Power Research Institute. "Many of the assumed damages are looking smaller or turning into net benefits." In other words, don't set your heart on a carbon tax in the US anytime soon.

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