Climate Change, Pollution to Wipe 3.2% From Global GDP by 2030

by | Sep 27, 2012

Climate change is already stripping 1.6 percent annually from global GDP, amounting to $1.2 trillion, a figure that will double to 3.2 percent by 2030 as temperatures escalate and carbon-related pollution continues, according to a DARA report.

The Spain-based NGO’s report, “Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet,”  estimates climate change causes 400,000 deaths on average each year, primarily due to hunger and communicable diseases.  Separately, fossil fuels and the activities that support such a carbon-intensive energy system cause an estimated 4.5 million deaths each year linked to air pollution, hazardous occupations and cancer.

Economic losses dwarf the modest cost of tackling climate change, DARA says. Achieving emissions reductions of just 0.5 percent of GDP for the next decade and providing support to vulnerable countries would cost a minimum of $150 billion a year for developing countries.

The report calculates and compares the vulnerability of 184 countries in four areas of impact—environmental disasters, habitat change, health impact and industry—using 34 climate and carbon-related indicators. The monitor uses five levels of vulnerability, from acute to low, to compare and contrast nations. The Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of developing countries facing high degrees of insecurity due to climate change, commissioned the report.

The losses for lower-income countries are already extreme, and is estimated will cost 11 percent of GDP, on average, by 2030.

Major economies also have been, and will continue to be, heavily hit, the report said. In less than 20 years, China will incur the greatest share of all losses at more than $1.2 trillion. The US economy will be held back by more than 2 percent of GDP, India more than 5% of its GDP, the report said.

Economic losses in 2030 of China, India and the United States alone will collectively total $2.5 trillion and more than 3 million death per year, or half of all mortality, the report said.

Global emissions of carbon dioxide increased by three percent in 2011, reaching an all-time high of 34 billion metric tons, according to a report released in July by the European Commission Joint Research Centre and PBL, the Netherlands’ environmental assessment agency.

The 2011 increase in global CO2 emissions is above the past decade’s average annual increase of 2.7 percent, but below the five percent surge shown in 2010, according to Trends in Global CO2 Emissions.

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