Delivering Paris Agreement to save global economy trillions
Failure to deliver the Paris Agreement’s ultimate goal of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C will cost the world’s economy tens of trillions of dollars over the next century.
That is according to a new study led by researchers at Stanford University, which warns of the economic costs associated with health, agricultural productivity, and extreme weather events caused by climate change.
It was calculated that restricting global temperature rises to 1.5˚C could save the world’s economy $30trn (£22.5trn) in damages, with close to 90% of the population benefiting financially.
This includes citizens of the US, China and Japan – the three largest economies in the world – as well as those in some of the poorest regions on earth, where even small deductions in warming generate notable increases in GDP per capita.
“Over the past century we have already experienced a 1˚C increase in global temperature, so achieving the ambitious targets laid out in the Paris Agreement will not be easy or cheap,” study lead author, Marshall Burke, said.
“The countries likely to benefit the most are already relatively hot today – the historical record tells us that additional warming will be very harmful to these countries’ economies.”
Published in the journal Nature, the study reveals that the economic benefits of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C are more than 30 times greater than previous estimates.
The researchers also note that they may be underestimating the total costs of higher global warming, especially if extreme weather events intensify and rapid melting of ice on Greenland or Antarctica materialises.
The findings help shed light on US president Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the country from the Paris Agreement on the grounds that it is a “bad deal” and too costly to the economy.
A total of 197 nations are currently signed up to the 2015 pact, with Syria’s announcement that it would be joining the deal last year set to leave the US as the only country not participating after 2020.
“For most countries in the world, including the US, we find strong evidence that the benefits of achieving the ambitious Paris targets are likely to vastly outweigh the costs,” Burke added.
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Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM