The fight against climate change would boost the economy, according to study results


One of the main arguments against climate change measures has always been that it is too expensive. However, new research finds exactly the opposite: we cannot afford not to.

A study published on Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature found that nations cannot adequately contain greenhouse gas emissions, as agreed at the international level Paris AgreementThe global economy will lose at least $ 150 trillion to $ 792 trillion by the end of the century.

A co-author of the study, Biying Yu from the Beijing Institute of Technology, said the general consensus in the international academic community was that “climate change can lead to a global catastrophe” and inactivity could therefore lead to “significant social problems”. Economic losses. “

The Paris Agreement aims to keep global warming under control 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels (the The world has already warmed up by more than 1 degree). The U.S. signed the agreement in 2015 with more than 190 other nations, but the Trump administration later announced plans to withdraw.

The Paris Agreement is made up of voluntary commitments known as Nationally Defined Contributions (NDCs) that are made by every nation. The main aspect of the commitments is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the burning of fossil fuels, thereby reducing global warming and the adverse effects of warming. In other words, the less the globe warms up, the less the economic damage.

Despite these goals, most countries are lagging behind their commitments, and Yu said countries need to update their goals. “A number of studies have currently proven this [NDCs] are not enough to achieve global warming goals, “said Yu.

Analysis of the Climate Action Tracker, a consortium of research groups, shows that the globe would probably still warm up to 3 degrees Celsius even if all of the nations’ obligations in the agreement were met. With this in mind, Yu and her team calculated optimal strategies to help countries improve their NDCs, minimize economic losses, and maximize profits. To do this, they simulated a global cooperation strategy in order to achieve the optimal course of emission reduction.

Research shows that the choice between climate protection and economic growth is actually a wrong choice. The authors’ work concludes that countries may achieve their climate goals while seeing an increase in their net income.

In particular, the team found that global net economic benefits would be between $ 127 trillion and $ 616 trillion by 2100 if nations were able to optimally reduce greenhouse gas emissions through heat capture.

The net economic benefit is defined as the avoided climate damage minus the costs to keep warming in check. The large range of economic benefits is due to the simulation of various “self-preservation strategies” – plans to avoid losses and maximize profits – that take into account different levels of technology development and climate damage.

For each nation, the study provides precise emission reduction targets, economic break-even points and the maximum cost for strategies to improve their current NDCs. Yu says the aim of her study is to demonstrate to managers the potential benefits of acting early and meaningfully.

Noah Kaufman, a climate and energy economist at Columbia University, agrees that aggressive measures are beneficial for both the earth and the economy. “Most of the literature shows that the economic benefits of serious mitigation measures outweigh costs in the long term,” he said.

Despite the signs of significant long-term economic gains, Biying Yu is concerned that governments may be short-sighted about the upfront costs. “Because many countries and regions would have a negative net income due to the large amount of early stage [greenhouse gas] If they cut costs, they may, in the short term, refuse to step up current climate change mitigation measures and neglect long-term climate damage, which is a serious obstacle to achieving global warming goals. “

Kaufman believes that countries have not taken stronger action for lack of knowledge or skills. “We could introduce extremely cost-effective mitigation measures that could reduce emissions at a very low cost, but we lack the political will to do so,” he said.

“Combating climate change is not a country’s business. It requires collective action and cooperation from all countries around the world,” Yu said. “Let’s work together and save ourselves.”