Aditya Vaibhav | The TrickyScribe: Climate change has contrasting effects on the world’s economies creating winners and losers; with varying incentives to act. Emerging economies, oil producers and the ones located in warmer climate zones are seriously the most vulnerable. Primary cost to the developed economies in the Northern Hemisphere is likely to incur through increased frequency and severity of natural disasters.
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For them, the deterioration in productivity will be trivial. The decline, however negligible it may be, will easily be offset by stronger tourism flows supported by fluctuations in the oil prices, according to a recent analysis by Moody’s Analytics that focused on the economic impact of climate change. The research looked at four different scenarios, entailing temperature increases of 1, 1.9, 2.4 and 4.1°C up to year 2100. Global economic damage is expected to shoot up to $54 trillion in 2100 under a 1.5°C warming scenario while 2°C increase will entail a cost of $69 trillion.
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Earth’s surface temperature in 2017 was around 0.84 Celsius degrees warmer than the 20th century average. In past couple of years, global temperatures have been consistently among the hottest. The global anomaly in surface temperature is the probable cause of an increase in sea level, a decrease in Arctic Ice and the growing frequency of weather-related catastrophes including storms, floods and droughts.
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Global energy-related CO2 emissions stood at around 36.15 billion metric tons in 2017, a significant hike from the pre-Industrial times. China was the largest producer of CO2 emissions in 2017. To reduce the production of CO2, several countries started issuing tradable green certificates which is considered one of the most effective methods to encourage corporations to clamp down emissions and to encourage sustainable production. Increase in energy generation from renewable energy sources is seen as another way to cut down on CO2 emissions.
Temperature anomalies provide the difference from an average or baseline temperature. Temperature anomalies are generally more important in the study of climate change than absolute temperature because when calculating average absolute temperatures, factors like station location and elevation may have critical impacts on absolute temperatures, but be less significant in anomaly calculations.
While positive anomalies show that the observed temperature was warmer than the baseline, a negative anomaly indicates that the observed temperature was lower than baseline. Annual temperature departure from the 20th century ever since the 1980s has consistently been positive. Land and ocean surface temperature anomaly stood at 0.82 Celsius in 2018.
Earth: A Warming Place to Live
Past years were the warmest years on record, where warming was driven largely by increased emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Climate change is evident in the warming ocean surface temperatures as well as the extent of sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere that usually attains its peak in December. Weather dynamics can affect regional temperatures and thus, the level of warming can vary around the world. Warming trends are most obvious in the Arctic region with the continued loss of sea ice.
Winners & Losers in the Direst Scenario
There are supposed to be winners and losers in the direst scenario, a 4°C temperature increase. It is estimated that India would suffer the biggest blow to its GDP in 2048 out of all of the world’s biggest economies, with a 2.45 percent contraction given its lower share of service industry employment India suffers greatly from the heat stress impact channel. China too suffers from negative heat stress but not as badly impacted as India due to benefits from tourism and agricultural activities. Canada, the UK, Germany, France and the US will see very modest increases in GDP under a worst-case scenario. It must mentioned here that the research does not factor in several climate change metrics that are also likely to affect the economy including the increasing likelihood of expensive natural disasters.