Why combating climate change is a smart business investment. A new study urges that climate change is an economic issue, and the authors are calling on world leaders to invest in and implement policies to reduce the impacts.
The projected costs of climate change’s impact on the ecosystem, infrastructure, and people will far outweigh the costs associated with implementing solutions like investing in renewable energy or slashing greenhouse gas emissions.
An international team of respected scientists compiled evidence of the accelerating impacts of climate change. Their study, published in the journal Science, emphasizes the concerning implications for the future of humankind unless more is done to combat global warming.
Investing in climate change mitigation is not just good business, it is also critical in order to prevent widespread devastation, global food shortages, and mass displacement of people due to sea-level rise and increasing temperatures.
“Acting on climate change, has a good return on investment when one considers the damages avoided by acting,” said Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from the University of Queensland in Australia and lead author of the study.
According to the researchers, the economic toll of climate change has been underestimated. On their own, the calculable costs of storm surges, sea-level rise, and flooding may be manageable, but climate change is exacerbating these issues.
“The scientific community has quantified these risks in order to inform policymakers about the benefits of avoiding them,” said Professor Rachel Warren from the University of East Anglia, an author of the study.
Professor Warren investigated the projected impacts that warming of 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius would have on the forest, biodiversity, crops, and food systems.
Research has shown that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels would result in fewer catastrophic impacts.
“If such policy is not implemented, we will continue on the current upward trajectory of burning fossil fuels and continuing deforestation, which will expand the already large-scale degradation of ecosystems,” said Warren. “To be honest, the overall picture is very grim unless we act.”
Most at risk are developing nations where already unstable economies could collapse due to malnutrition, infrastructure damage, and displacement.
“Current emission reduction commitments are inadequate and risk throwing many nations into chaos and harm, with a particular vulnerability of poor peoples,” said Hoegh-Guldberg “To avoid this, we must accelerate action and tighten emission reduction targets so that they fall in line with the Paris Agreement. As we show, this is much less costly than suffering the impacts of 2oC or more of climate change.”
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