Staying below 1.5 is worth 2% of global GDP
Respecting the threshold of 1.5 degrees will lead to net benefits of $ 6,800 billion per year, 2% of global GDP. This was calculated by the US non-profit research center Resources for Future together with the University of Berkeley comparing this climate trajectory with the less ambitious scenario provided by the Paris Agreement, 2 degrees, and with the one considered closer to the current trajectory, that is a global warming of about 2.5 ºC compared to the pre-industrial era. The most up-to-date IPCC estimates put global warming at 2100, in a business-as-usual scenario, in a range between 2.1 and 2.9 degrees.
To estimate the costs associated with climate change, the research team used the Greenhouse Gas Impact Value Estimator (GIVE) model, developed by the authors to estimate the social cost of carbon. A concept that indicates the costs associated with greenhouse gas emissions in all respects, from pollution to health, and is used by some countries as a coefficient to assess the effectiveness of certain policies.
Climate costs: three scenarios
Starting from the three global warming scenarios analyzed, the report estimates the benefits of achieving climate goals by measuring the differences in damage between the three different paths. And get to calculate the net benefits (or damages) from here to 2300.
What happens if we stay on the current trajectory? The damage far outweighs the benefits. The net cost to the global economy comes to about 918 trillion, about 3.3 trillion $ a year. If, instead, climate policies are able to contain global warming around 2 degrees, the costs will be halved. The benefits exceed the costs only if you go down to the threshold of 1.5 degrees.
“There are significant – and perhaps painful – economic impacts associated with the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Addressing climate change while delivering on the promises made by the world in the Paris Agreement will not only protect the environment but also protect the global economy,” stresses Jordan Wingenroth, one of the authors.