Heatwaves exacerbated by climate change have cost the global economy trillions of dollars over the past 30 years, one showed. studio released on Friday, with poor countries paying the heaviest price.
Furthermore, according to the studiothese unbalanced economic effects contribute to increasing inequalities around the world.
“The cost of extreme heatwaves caused by climate change has so far been borne in disproportionately by countries and regions least responsible for global warming. This is a crazy tragedy, “said Justin Mankin, a professor at Dartmouth College and one of the authors of studio published in the journal Science Advances as reported by Agence France-Presse.
“Climate change arrives in one moment in economic inequality prevails in the world and is exacerbating it, “added Mankin.
The studio showed that the periods of extreme heatwaves between 1992 and 2013 cost the global economy about $ 16 trillion.
But while rich countries have lost about 1.5% of their GDP per capita annually during heatwaves, poor countries have lost about 6.7% of their GDP per capita annually.
The reason for this disparity is simple, because poor countries are often found near the tropics, which naturally makes their climates warmer. And during the heatwaves, it is exceptionally hot.
This studio was published a few days before the start of the COP27 climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, in Egypt, where the issue of compensating the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, although the least responsible for this phenomenon, is expected to be a major issue.
The costs incurred by heat waves come from several factors: the implications for agriculture, strained health systems, a less productive workforce, and damage to infrastructure, such as melting roads.
The cost of inaction
Researchers involved in the studio they focused on the 5 hottest days each year in some regions in which extreme heat waves are considered an extreme weather phenomenon.
“The general idea is to look at the differences in temperature extremes and see to what extent this is reflected in the differences in economic growth” for each region, Mankin explained.
“So, in the next step, we look at how human-caused climate change affects these extreme temperatures.”
But the results of the studio they almost certainly underestimate the true cost of extreme heatwaves, according to the research, as studying just five days a year does not reflect the increasing frequency of these climatic phenomena, nor are all potential costs included.
Previous studies on the subject have focused on the costs of heat waves in specific sectors, although scientists say it is important to research in comprehensively the costs of climate change.
“You want to know what these costs are in in order to have a framework against which to compare the cost of moving and taking measures “, for example the construction of cooling centers or the installation of air conditioners against the” cost of inactivity “, has Mankin stated.
“The economic gains from responding to the five hottest days of the year could be huge,” he added.
But Mankin noted that the most important answer is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow global warming at source.
“We have to adapt to the climate in we live in now and we have to invest a lot to fight climate change, “concluded Mankin.
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