Countries Must Act on Climate or Risk Up to $792 Trillion in Economic Damage

The global economy could lose between $150 trillion to $792 trillion by 2100 if nations fail to meet their current targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new analysis in the journal Nature Communications. In contrast, it would cost G20 countries just $16 trillion to $103 trillion to limit warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius, the analysis said.

The United States’ investment to avoid the effects of severe warming, for example, would be from $5.4 trillion to $33 trillion. The study, led by economists at the Beijing Institute of Technology, called such investments and policy decisions “a self-preservation strategy” for nations. It also found that if countries manage to meet their current targets, known as nationally determined contributions, most will actually experience economic gains in the long-run.

The researchers also noted that developed countries must lead the advancement of zero-carbon technologies and must share their knowledge with the developing world. “Implementing such a self-preservation strategy in a real word requires countries to recognize the gravity of global warming and to make breakthroughs in low-carbon technologies,” they write. “Financial and technical support from developed countries is necessary for relatively vulnerable countries to implement the self-preservation strategy.”