How much does global warming cost?

Brazil alone has an estimated loss of 5% of annual GDP per capita due to the damage caused by climate change, reveals study

In addition to environmental damage, the global warming is also causing damage to the economies of countries, especially the poorest ones, points out a Nature article. According to a recently published study, low-income countries located in tropical regions are those most impacted by these losses.

The study analyzed the economic consequences of heat waves in the world over a 20-year period and estimates that the global economy lost $$ 5 trillion to US$ 29 trillion between 1992 and 2013.

This would be the result of global warming caused by human activities. The situation was worse in the poorest tropical countries, where national income had an average reduction of 6.7% in the period, while that of high-income countries fell by 1.5%.

“Very hot days are one of the most tangible ways we feel climate change,” says study co-author Christopher Callahan of Dartmouth College. “We know they destroy crops, reduce productivity and cause more workplace injuries.”

The study shows that low-income regions that tend to have hot climates suffer more from rising temperatures, despite their emissions are often much smaller than those in the richest regions of the planet. 

Climate justice

Brazil, Venezuela and Mali were among the hardest hit countries, with a reduction of 5% in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita annual compared to what it would have been without the heat waves caused. In countries like Canada and Finland, the drop was 1%.

Because of these results, the study highlights the need for policies focused on climate justice. The unequal consequences of global warming are “something that has been talked about quite qualitatively before”, says Vikki Thompson, a climate scientist at the University of Bristol (UK), for whom the analysis “has really managed to quantify it”. 

Ultimately, the researchers emphasize the need for rich countries to pay their share, says Erich Fischer, a climate scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. “Given the unequal burden and share of historical emissions, the global north needs to support the global south in terms of dealing with these adverse effects.”

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