The economic costs of climate change are not limited to the United States, but a new study published in the journal Science shows that the effects of global warming will be felt around the world.
The study by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIAS) and the Center for Global Climate and Environmental Research (CGEER) finds that climate change has little impact on the economic health of nations, but its impacts will be significant in other countries.
The IIAS and CGEER report finds that while climate change impacts on GDP are significant, the economic costs associated with these impacts are largely ignored in climate change research.
The study is the first to examine the economic impacts of climate-related damage in a wide range of countries, from developing nations to rich industrial nations.
“This is the largest study of its kind to date, and it looks at the effects on GDP and the global economy of a range of climate impacts,” said IIAS senior scientist and senior author Daniela Parelli, an economist at the IAS.
“It’s an important study, and its the first study that quantifies the economic effects of climate impact on a wide-scale basis,” said CGEERS co-author and director, David S. Nunn, who is also a professor of economics at Harvard University.
“The economic costs for climate change will be a big concern for governments around the globe, and we know that they are looking for ways to reduce climate-induced costs,” Nunn said.
“These studies provide a very strong argument that it is the economic cost of climate disruption that matters the most.
We have to take into account how much damage a country could be exposed to if we don’t do something about climate change,” he added.”
This paper is the most comprehensive assessment of the economic impact of climate disruptions we have seen to date,” Nott said.
The researchers looked at a variety of economic indicators, including economic output, inflation, real wages, gross domestic product (GDP), the unemployment rate, and the amount of pollution.
The findings from the study show that the impacts of global climate change on GDP is not as great as previous studies.
They found that in the past, the costs of extreme weather events like droughts, floods, hurricanes, and snowstorms were underestimated by researchers because they were often assumed to be economic in nature.
“If the weather event was not economically important, we might have assumed it to be an economic event,” said Parelli.
This time, the authors found that the economic damage from extreme weather was underestimated.
The economists found that a number of climate effects have significant impacts on the economy.
“We can’t say exactly how much they affect GDP,” said Nunn.
“But it will be much larger than what is typically considered.
In a developing economy, for example, we could see as much as 2 percent of GDP lost if all the costs were considered.”
Climate-related economic losses would be about one percent of the economy in the United Kingdom.
“One of the things that we’ve found is that climate disruption does have some costs, but the costs we’re talking about are relatively small compared to the costs that are not climate-linked,” said Margo Karpowitz, co-director of the Institute for Climate and Social Research at UC Berkeley.
Climate-linked costs include climate-driven changes in weather, air quality, crop yields, and soil moisture, which have impacts on farmers, businesses, and residents, and are often not accounted for in climate impact assessments.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the way climate impacts are calculated and how we’re measuring impacts,” she added.
For example, the researchers found that extreme weather damages can increase carbon dioxide emissions and decrease economic growth.
These impacts, along with the negative impacts of the impact of the climate change, will reduce economic growth and income in poor countries, Karpowitz said.
Climate-driven economic losses also have significant negative impacts on people’s health.
“The health effects of extreme heat, and in particular, heat related disease, can be severe,” she said.
These impacts have been widely ignored in research.
“I think it’s important that people understand that these effects have a large negative impact on people, because they can cause significant financial and social problems,” Parella said.
In addition to Parello, the study authors included: Anna M. Mäki, a senior fellow at the Institute of Economics and Politics at the University of Helsinki; and Mariana A. Santos, a professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
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