Climate Change Impact: Economic Damage Six Times Worse Than Predicted

New research shows that the economic damage caused by climate change is six times worse than previously thought. Global warming is set to shrink wealth at a rate comparable to the financial losses of a continuous, permanent war.

Researchers found that a one °C increase in global temperature leads to a 12% decline in world gross domestic product (GDP), a far higher estimate than previous analyses. With the world already having warmed by more than one °C (1.8°F) since pre-industrial times, many climate scientists predict a three °C (5.4°F) rise by the end of this century due to ongoing fossil fuel burning. This new, yet-to-be peer-reviewed paper highlights the enormous economic cost of such a scenario.

According to the paper, a three °C temperature increase will “cause “precipitous declines in output, capital, and consumption that exceed 50% by”2100.” The economic loss is so severe that it is “comparable to the economic damage caused by fighting a war domestically and permanently,” the authors write.

“There will still be some economic growth happening, but by the end of the century, people may well be 50% poorer than would’ve been weren’t for climate change,” said Adrien Bilal, an economist at Harvard who co-authored the paper with Diego Känzig, an economist at Northwestern University.

Bilal emphasized that purchasing power—how much people can buy with their money—would already be 37% higher than it is now without the global heating observed over the past 50 years. This lost wealth will continue to spiral if the climate crisis deepens, causing an economic drain often seen during wartime. Read More

News Credit: The Guardian

Picture Credit: Spyros Bakalis/AFP/Getty Images

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