A new study released yesterday by the non-governmental org DARA estimates that climate change is already costing the world more than $1.2 trillion per year and annually causing the deaths of over 400,000 people.
The 331-page study, entitled Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of A Hot Planet included input by more than 50 scientists, economists and policy experts, and commissioned by 20 governments.
“Continuing today’s patterns of carbon-intensive energy use is estimated, together with climate change, to cause 6 million deaths per year by 2030, close to 700,000 of which would be due to climate change,” the study warns. “This implies that a combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade.”
Not surprisingly, the world’s poorest nations will suffer the most – with some 380,000 alone expected to perish from hunger in the year 2030.
“Poverty reduction efforts are in peril as the potential temperature increase the world is already committed to has only begun to be realized, and the world’s major economies are in no way spared,” the authors continue. “The United States, China and India in particular are expected to incur enormous losses that in 2030 for these three countries alone will collectively total 2.5 trillion dollars in economic costs and over 3 million deaths per year, or half of all mortality – the majority in India and China.”
While the study credits the world carbon-economy for the massive shift in wealth and growth over the last 200 years, it says such an economic system, while able to support 1 to 2 billion people, is ill-suited for a global population in excess of 7 billion and growing.
“Some quite serious damage is now unavoidable, but certain losses can still be reduced in the short term,” they add. “In particular, human costs can be transferred to economic costs. This can be achieved through programmes aimed at reducing rural poverty – at the origin of hunger deaths and many communicable diseases afflicting the world’s poorest groups, with risks that worsen with climate change. Or it can be achieved by ensuring clean air regulations, safer working conditions and modern energy options for people at risk due to carbon-intensive forms of energy.”