Climate change will reduce GDP in poor countries by 64% by 2100, study finds

The effects of climate change could cause a 64% impact on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the world’s most vulnerable countries, according to a new study commissioned by Christian help.

The report is titled “Lost and Damaged: A Study of the Economic Impact of Climate Change in Vulnerable Countries” and was coordinated by Marina Andrijevic, an economist at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. He highlighted the damage that climate change could do to the GDP of the world’s poorest nations, compared to if climate change were never a factor.

The countries studied are all members of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) of the UNFCCC, as well as members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF).

Global temperatures are expected to rise by 2.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Taking this into account, the GDP of the world’s poorest countries is expected to decline significantly. By 2050, they will see a reduction of 19.6%. By 2100, it would be 63.9%.

If all nations abide by the Paris Agreement, the situation will remain difficult, but not so bad. Under the Paris Agreement, global warming should stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. If this happens, the average reduction in GDP in poor countries would be 13.1% by 2050 and 33.1% by 2100. This is not so bad, but it shows that an economic crisis would still occur even in this idyllic setting. , and a mechanism needs to be in place to deal with it.

Ethiopians, who fled ongoing fighting in the Tigray region, carry their belongings after crossing the Setit River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in the eastern state of Kassala, Sudan, on December 16, 2020 (credit : MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH / REUTERS)

The countries of Africa will be the most affected, which is where eight of the 10 most affected countries are located. Each of them will have a GDP reduction of more than 70% by 2100 on the current trajectory. Even if the temperature rise is kept to just 1.5 degrees Celsius, they will still face a 40% reduction.

This in itself is nothing new. Previous studies showed that Africa’s GDP per capita is already 13.6% lower now than it would have been if temperatures had not increased between 1991 and 2010.

But the country that will be most affected of all of them will be Sudan. The country was already hit hard by flash floods and heavy rains that affected the lives of more than 300,000 in September. And at this rate, it will only get a lot worse. By 2050, you will see a reduction in GDP of 32.4% and a reduction of 83.9% by 2100. If rising temperatures remain at 1.5 degrees Celsius, it would still be 22.4% in 2050 and 51, 4% in 2100.

All of this doesn’t even take into account the possibility of extreme weather events triggered by rising temperatures, which could further worsen these prospects.

These findings come in the middle of the UN global climate change conference known as COP26. There, the western states pledge to help these poor countries adapt. But these poorer countries are also the ones with the least adaptive capacity.

“Based on the historical relationships between GDP growth and climate variables, here we extrapolate how a future under climate change could affect economic performance,” Andrijevic said in a statement.

“We get staggering numbers that imply that the ability of countries in the Global South to develop sustainably is seriously compromised and that the political decisions we make at this time are crucial to preventing further damage. It is important to note that these figures are only extrapolations and focus on the impact of rising temperatures, not the effects of extreme weather events. These numbers may be conservative estimates if extreme weather events continue to cause substantial economic damage for decades to come. “

“This report shows the magnitude of the economic disaster Africa is facing due to climate change,” said Mohamed Adow, director of the Power Shift Africa climate and energy expert group, based in Nairobi, Kenya.

“The fact that eight of the 10 most affected countries are from my continent underscores the threat we face if we do not address global emissions urgently, but it also shows the imperative need for a concrete loss and damage mechanism to deal with these consequences. economic. Africa has done the least to cause climate change, but this report shows that it will face the worst consequences. That is deeply unfair. The fact that rich countries have consistently blocked efforts to establish a loss and damage fund to address this injustice is shameful. That attitude must change here in Glasgow. Not only because it is necessary, but the bill will only increase if rich countries continue to ignore the needs of the most vulnerable. “

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