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Climate Change Slams Global Economy in a New Study From Stanford and Berkeley

A novel analysis of temperature records shows that economies perform worse in high heat.
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Photographer: David McNew/Getty Images

Climate change could cause 10 times as much damage to the global economy as previously estimated, slashing output as much as 23 percent by the end of the century, a new research paper from Stanford and Berkeley finds. 

Looking at 166 countries from 1960 to 2010, the researchers identified an optimal average annual temperature that coincides with peak productivity of, for example, labor and crops. It's 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius), or approximately the climate of San Francisco's bay area. The paper appears in the new issue of Nature