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‘Being Rich Matters’ as $7.9 Trillion in Future Climate Impacts Hit Africa Hardest

African Centre for Advocacy/Twitter

The impacts of climate change could cost the world’s economy US$7.9 trillion by 2050, according to the latest climate resilience index from a leading UK-based finance and economics magazine.

“The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Climate Change Resilience Index measured the preparedness of the world’s 82 largest economies and found that, based on current trends, the fallout of warming temperatures would shave off 3% of global GDP by 2050.,” Agence France-Presse reports [1]. The impacts of drought, flooding, and crop failures on infrastructure and economic growth would fall disproportionately on poorer countries, the analysis found, with Africa seeing a 4.7% loss in gross domestic product.

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“The global economy is going to suffer so it’s not really a case of act now or act later. We need to do both,” said EIU country analysis director John Ferguson.

“Being rich matters,” Ferguson added. “Richer nations are really able to be more resilient towards the impacts of climate change, so this really threatens growth trajectories of the developing world as they try to catch up with the developed world.”

The analysis shows that “when we are already dealing with global inequality, for the impacts of climate change the developing world’s challenges are much greater,” he said.

“Of the countries evaluated, Angola stood to lose the most—as much as 6.1% of gross domestic product,” AFP writes, due to poor infrastructure and “geographical exposure” to severe drought, soil erosion, and sea level rise. The next-most vulnerable countries were Nigeria at 5.9%, Egypt at 5.5%, Bangladesh at 5.4%, and Venezuela at 5.1%. And climate-denying Russia, with a projected GDP loss of 5%, will “suffer more than most other countries in the world from the negative effects of climate change”, the EIU concluded, even after factoring in the potential for increased agricultural production.

“Melting permafrost—threatening infrastructure such as hydrocarbon pipelines—was forecast to be among the biggest drags on Russia’s economy in the coming decades,” AFP says.

Ferguson stressed that “developing countries can’t do this on their own. There needs to be a coordinated global effort to deal with the impacts we are talking about.”