The early effects of climate change are now here, and in some respects the situation is deteriorating more rapidly than the models predict. We’re already facing the costs. But because of our stupid, short sighted political systems, we don’t have the capacity to respond to a threat that seems still to be years away. We are blocked by the short term costs of action, and ignore the much longer costs of doing nothing. Environmental concerns aside, even in purely economic terms, it makes no sense.
Climate change already killing millions – report
Climate change and carbon-based air pollution kills an estimated 5 million people a year, and already costs the world US$1.2 trillion annually, according to a new report.
Commissioned by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a coalition of 20 countries, Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide To The Cold Calculus Of A Hot Planet says by 2030, the cost of climate change will rise to 3.2 percent of world GDP and deaths will top 6 million – with developing countries taking most of the brunt.
The report said the cost of combating climate change – around 0.5 percent of global GDP – was dwarfed by the costs of doing nothing.
“A combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade.” More than 90 percent of the deaths will occur in developing countries, which also face sacrificing 5 to 10 percent of their economies.
“One degree Celsius rise in temperature is associated with 10 percent productivity loss in farming,” Bangladesh’s prime minister Sheikh Hasina told Reuters. …
– The cost of reducing emissions could be limited to around 1% of global GDP;
– Unabated climate change could cost the world at least 5% of GDP each year; if more dramatic predictions come to pass, the cost could be more than 20% of GDP.
We need to face up to the short term costs, or the long term costs are much greater. Treasury understood it in 2008. Some of our smarter business people understand it. But National’s response has been to bury their heads even deeper in the sand, and further delay the introduction of the ETS. That we let them get away with it is a form of collective madness.