On a day when many of us are feeling a sugar hangover from Halloween, a report this week from a leading economist and the British government suggests we would have a huge economic hangover if we don’t cut global warming emissions soon (but it’s not the Halloween scare that it sounds).

The report, The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, is led by a highly respected former World Bank economist, Nicholas Stern. It finds that the pro-growth strategy for the world is to act now to cut global warming emissions. Stern argues that a failure to act will set in motion climate extremes that act as a permanent drag on the global economy. The review concludes that the economic return on climate protection investments will range from $5-20 per dollar spent.

While there are many offices at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue where this light bulb has not lit up, the good news is we’re seeing action already from states like California (and many in the Northeast), cities like Seattle (and hundreds more across America), major venture capitalists, and nations around the world. Regardless of next week's election results, we expect more pressure to do something real to protect both the climate and economic growth (not to mention cutting overdependence on insecure energy supplies).

Ultimately, it comes down to this: to reap any reward, people know you need to make an investment. And the return on climate protection investments would be five- to twenty-fold, according to the report. The real job-killer would be inaction, which the Stern report suggests could impose a huge economic hit on global GDP. To avoid that sort of economic harm, the report notes we need to put real programs in place now to make big changes happen in the next ten years. Of course, that’s the same timeframe scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

Post-Halloween scariness? No, just sound advice from economists and scientists to cut emissions safely and affordably, starting right now.