Shift from 2.0°C to 1.5 Warming Target Saves Countries $30 Trillion in Climate Impacts
Countries around the world, but particularly the poorest countries, can prevent an overwhelming US$30 trillion in climate damages by limiting average global warming to 1.5° rather than 2.0°C, according to a new economic analysis published this week in the journal Nature.
“By the end of the century, we find the world will be about 3% wealthier if we actually achieve the 1.5°C target relative to the 2.0°C target,” said study lead Marshall Burke of Stanford University. “In dollar terms, this represents about $30 trillion in cumulative benefits.”
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Hitting the 1.5°C target will cost a comparatively scant $500 billion over 30 years, so “our evidence suggests the benefits of meeting the targets vastly outweigh the costs,” Burke added.
“We also calculated what’s going to be the additional economic cost if we hit 3.0°C instead of 2.0°. This will cost the globe an additional five to 10% of GDP, relative to 2.0°C; that is tens of trillions of dollars,” he said.
“These are very large numbers.”
And large as they are, the analysis “did not include the impacts of climate change on areas that are harder to quantify, such as the natural ecosystems that are vital for clean air and water and fertile soils, or the health benefits of burning less fossil fuel,” The Guardian reports. “Including these would make the benefits of action even greater.”
The study shows that “most nations, representing 90% of global population, would benefit economically from keeping global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,” the UK-based publication notes. “This includes almost all the world’s poorest countries, as well as the three biggest economies—the U.S., China, and Japan,” a finding that anticipates and contradicts Donald Trump’s next tweet claiming that climate action is too costly.
The study listed cold-climate countries like Russia, Canada, and the Scandinavian nations that could take an economic hit if average global warming is kept to 1.5°C. “This is because a small amount of additional warming to 2.0°C would be beneficial to their economies,” The Guardian explains.