July 26, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.
Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.
Europe Faces Deadly Cost for Climate Inaction
Posted on Jul 13, 2014
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network
This piece first appeared at Climate News Network.
Square, Story page, 2nd paragraph, mobile
That is the warning in a new European Commission (EC) study, which also says that failing to take the necessary action could burn 8,000 square kilometres of forest, and commit European taxpayers to at least €190 billion (US$259 bn) a year in economic losses.
Flood damage, too, could exceed €10bn a year by 2080, while the number of people affected by droughts could increase sevenfold, and coastal damage from sea level rise could treble.
The study weighs the bleak consequences of inaction. Scientists considered what would happen if the politicians and players on the continent worked with international partners to constrain global warming to a 2°C rise, or alternatively took no action and allowed global temperatures to soar to 3.5°C. They analysed the impact of climate change in agriculture, river floods, coasts, tourism, energy, droughts, forest fires, transport infrastructure and human health.
Square, Site wide, Desktop
Square, Site wide, Mobile
The biggest and most obvious cost was to human health: premature death—from heat stress or other climate-related impacts—would account for €120 billion; coastal losses would claim €42 billion and agriculture €18bn. The worst-hit regions would be southern and south central Europe, which would bear 70% of the burden; northern Europe would experience the lowest.
If the world keeps temperature rise to the current international target of 2°C, there will still be huge costs, but the constraint would knock at least €60 billion off the overall bill. It would save lives too, reducing the notional premature death toll by 23,000, and would burn only about 4,000 square kilometres of forest.
Calculations such as these—which are aids to political and economic planners, and intended to spur forthcoming political action—are uncheckable, but they are also almost certainly underestimates. They take no account of losses of, for example, biodiversity, on which it is impossible to place a value, and they do not include the consequences of catastrophic tipping points, such as the melting of Arctic ice.
Connie Hedegaard, the EC’s Commissioner for Climate Action, said: “No action is clearly the most expensive solution of all. Why pay for the damages when we can invest in reducing our climate impacts and becoming a competitive low-carbon economy?
“Taking action and taking a decision on the 2030 climate and energy framework in October will bring us just there, and make Europe ready for the fight against climate change.”
Banner, End of Story, Desktop
Banner, End of Story, Mobile
Watch a selection of Wibbitz videos based on Truthdig stories:
New and Improved Comments
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide