The 2°C Climate Challenge: Is Global Warming Target a Financial Time Bomb?

The economic feasibility of the climate change targets specified in the Paris Agreement depends on the prioritization of non-market elements like human health and biodiversity conservation, according to a recent study led by Dr. Taikan Oki, ex-Senior Vice-Rector of United Nations University, Japan, and published in IOP Publishing’s academic journal Environmental Research Letters.

A team of researchers from 23 institutions, including the University of Tokyo, National Institute for Environmental Studies, and Kyoto University, has conducted a cost-benefit analysis on climate change, integrating previously overlooked non-market aspects such as the loss of biodiversity and its implications on human health.

The team calculated the cost of climate change for varying priority systems, estimating the total cost including mitigation between 2010 and 2099 to be 46-230 trillion US dollars.

The results show that the financial benefits of reducing climate change are often similar to the cost of mitigation efforts. The research team estimates the cost of additional mitigation efforts to be 45 to 130 trillion US dollars, while the financial benefits of these reduction efforts range from 23 to 145 trillion US dollars. They found that for the 2°C temperature goal to be economically feasible there must be a greater emphasis placed on the future impact of biodiversity and health factors, arguing that these factors will become ever more pressing in the future.

The study shows that climate change would be best approached in an integrated manner with biodiversity and health issues considered side-by-side with economic factors. This is especially true when non-market values are taken into full account including health factors such as diarrhoeal diseases and malaria, and the decrease of species on Earth such as fish and insects.

Dr. Oki, who was formerly the Coordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says: “The world’s pursuit of climate goals is currently not on track. Our future will depend on how much importance we place on risks such as large-scale irreversible events, as well as how we accept and deal with them. One reason for this is that the costs of mitigation are often similar to, or in excess of, the economic benefits of reducing climate change. We must place a higher priority on non-monetary commodities such as human health and biodiversity and accelerate technological innovations to reduce the mitigation cost.”

Source : SciTechDaily


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