Economy and climate experts point out that climate change is fast becoming a serious threat to the global economy. It is based on a report published in The Guardian, where experts argue that global warming, if not mitigated will cause catastrophic economic problems in 2016 (Elliott).
The report adds to the increasing data that paints a very grim picture when it comes to the economic impact of climate change. The Guardian points out that various aspects of climate change are already contributing close to 400,000 deaths a year globally. Air pollution, which is one of the greatest contributors to climate change, has been noted to lead single-handedly to the death of close to 4.5 million people a year. The monetary cost amounts up to $1.2 trillion, which accumulates to 1.6% of the total global GDP (Liverman and Glasmeier). The data further reveal that the developing nations are the ones bearing the greatest burden of this issue. The is because extreme weather conditions damage agricultural production means, leading to cases of deaths from malnutrition, poverty and their associated diseases (Elliott). It is unfortunate since developing countries contribute the least to climate change.
Some of the clearest visualizations of climate change are the Sea-level rise, floods, droughts, wildfires, and extreme storms. All these lead to severe damage to property and infrastructure, qualifying them as the greatest economic impacts of climate change. Such disasters lead to the destruction and the need to repair essential infrastructures such as roads, homes, railway tracks, bridges, airport runways, dams, power lines, levees, and seawalls. It is expected that such events will pose an enormous economic threat, reading from events that have occurred in the past. Hurricane Sandy that hit the east coast in the US and the Caribbean in October 2012 is an example of such an event. The hurricane exposed a big percentage of assets to the hazard that translated into billions of dollars. Statistics show that up to 1.8 million structures and homes were destroyed, leading to an economic cost of $65 billion. Hurricane Katrina of 2005, on the other hand, caused damages amounting up to$40 billion (Liverman and Glasmeier). The most disturbing fact about these economic disruptions is that it takes longer for people to recover with analysis showing that ¾ of the people affected by the hurricanes have not yet recovered.
The occurrence of climate-related hazards makes it necessary for countries to devise ways of helping the affected recover. To this end, therefore, societies that have been impacted by the climate - change based hazards such as droughts or hurricanes need to come up with ways of coping; whether immediate or for the long-term hazard mitigation efforts. The steps that are taken to counter the risks may prove to be costly in the long run to both individuals and policy makers. Local and state governments that take steps to build early warning systems for heat waves and disasters and add emergency responders are likely to be more set to counter the effects. The cost, however, could be very high, therefore adding to the data on the economic costs of climate change (Liverman and Glasmeier).
The focus of stakeholders in aspects of climate has been on the environmental effects of climate change. The economic impacts are often disregarded despite the billions of dollars that are in play. It is, therefore, important for stakeholders to come up with strategic solutions to counter the risk posed by climatic change, especially from the economic perspective.
Elliott, Larry. "Climate Change Disaster Is Biggest Threat To Global Economy In 2016, Say Experts". The Guardian. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Jan. 2016.
Liverman, Diana, and Amy Glasmeier. "What Are The Economic Consequences Of Climate Change?". The Atlantic. N.p., 2014. Web. 15 Jan. 2016.