These 5 countries alone inflicted nearly €6 trillion in climate damage on the rest of the world

The economic impact of top greenhouse gas emitters on other countries can now be calculated due to a recent study published on Tuesday. 

Historically, wealthy countries have emitted probably the most greenhouse gases. It has led environmental activists and a few government officials to call on these industrialised nations to pay the best amounts and even offer reparations to poorer countries. 

The study from US-based Dartmouth College has been billed as a possible game-changer for climate litigation as figures could possibly be utilized in courtrooms or international climate negotiations to work out payments from countries that burn more fossil fuels. 

Researchers found that a small group of heavy polluters has caused trillions of dollars of economic losses on account of warming brought on by their emissions. The highest 10 global emitters caused greater than two-thirds of losses worldwide. Warmer and poorer countries within the Global South have been hit hardest.

“Greenhouse gases emitted in a single country cause warming in one other, and that warming can depress economic growth,” says Justin Mankin, the study’s senior researcher. 

Which country’s emissions have had the largest economic impact?

The world’s two leading emitters, the US and China, each caused total global income losses of $1.8 trillion (€1.79 trillion) from 1990 to 2014. Russia, India, and Brazil caused losses exceeding $500 billion (€498 billion) each for a similar years.

In total, these five countries account for around €6 trillion in cumulative losses – roughly 11 per cent of worldwide Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through the study period. 

The evaluation also breaks the information all the way down to show the damage done by a single emitter to a different individual country’s economy. 

“This research provides legally precious estimates of the financial damages individual nations have suffered on account of other countries’ climate-changing activities,” says Mankin.

The evaluation checked out how much carbon each nation emitted and the impact that had on global warming. Researchers then connected that to studies that show how rising temperatures have impacted economies world wide.

Two million possible values for every country-to-country interaction were sampled and a supercomputer was used to crunch a complete of 11 trillion values to quantify and address uncertainties around cause-and-effect. 

How do rising temperatures impact economies within the Global South?

Warmer temperatures could cause economic losses for a rustic in a variety of ways akin to lowering agricultural yields or reducing labour productivity through heat stress. 

US emissions cost Mexico a complete of €79 billion of lost GDP between 1990 and 2014, in accordance with the evaluation. The country also caused €308 billion in economic climate damage to Brazil,  €255 billion to India and €123 billion to Indonesia.

Conversely, for some cooler countries within the north, warming can raise output by boosting crop yields. The US, for instance, has benefitted by greater than €182 billion from the worldwide warming it caused and its impact on Canada was a gain of €246 billion.

“The statement that it is feasible and scientifically credible to link a person actor to a person tangible impact is an announcement that has not been made robustly in previous work,” says study first writer Christopher Callahan.

Prior to now twenty years, the variety of climate-related lawsuits has risen from barely a handful to well over a thousand. But these have mainly targeted major oil firms and other businesses somewhat than attempting to pin liability on any given country’s emissions. 

“This research provides a solution to the query of whether there’s a scientific basis for climate liability claims—the reply is yes,” Callahan adds.

“Now we have quantified each nation’s culpability for historical temperature-driven income changes in every other country.”


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