G-20 News

Climate change threatens to devastate major world economic powers, including the United States

The world’s largest economies will suffer serious human and economic consequences from climate change, especially if no action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study of the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC), an Italian research center.

“From droughts, heat waves and sea level rise to dwindling food supplies and threats to tourism – these findings show how climate change will hit the world’s largest economies, unless we let’s act now, ”said Donatella Spano, Senior Member of the CMCC Strategy Council. and a scientist from the University of Sassari, in a statement accompanying the publication of the report.

The report studied the G-20, a group of 19 countries and the European Union which includes the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, China and Russia , among others.

People from an institute set up to monitor and forecast the effects of climate change on the Mediterranean region on September 22 in Lecce, Italy. (Janos Chiala / Getty Images)

He found that climate change impacts such as extreme heat and sea level rise are already causing death and destruction in the world’s major economies, and that if climate change continues unabated, it will lead also to new plagues that proliferate in warmer climates. With medium to high emissions, as temperatures rise in the northern United States, the Zika virus – which was previously transmitted locally in the country only in Florida and Texas – could threaten 83% of the population by 2050 More than 92% of US residents could be at risk for dengue.

If emissions remain high, Europe will have 90,000 extreme heat deaths each year by the end of this century, up from 2,700 today.

All of this also has economic implications. In a high-emission future, countries like France and Indonesia could lose a fifth or more of their catch due to warming ocean temperatures, and rising sea levels could destroy coastal infrastructure, resulting in projected losses of 404 billion euros ($ 468 billion) for Japan and 815 million euros ($ 945 billion) for South Africa by 2050.

Overall, the report estimates that the G-20 countries will lose 4% of their total economic output by 2050 and 8% by 2100 if emissions do not decline rapidly.

The CMCC, which works with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released the report ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland next week. The G-20 countries are responsible for about 80 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

The Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland, where the United Nations climate summit will be held.

The Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland, where the United Nations climate summit will be held. (Jeff J. Mitchell / Getty Images)

The G-20 countries are all parties to the Paris Agreement, which was concluded in 2015 and set a goal of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. But individual national commitments to reduce emissions so far have put the world on track for at least 2.7 ° C warming. Hopes that G-20 countries like China and Brazil, which hesitated to make firm emission reduction commitments last time around, would step up their ambition before Glasgow has so far not materialized. According to a recent UN report, the planet is still heading for catastrophic climate change without bold new commitments.

“As scientists, we know that only swift action to tackle emissions and adapt to climate change will limit the severe impacts of climate change,” Spano said in his statement. “At the next summit, we call on the G20 governments to listen to the science and put the world on the path to a better, fairer and more stable future.

Cover thumbnail: Lukas Schulze / Getty Images


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