Climate crisis to shrink G7 economies twice as much as Covid-19, says research

10/06/2021 10:00
June 2019 - UK costs to cut greenhouse emissions 40% higher than thought - FT.jpg

The economies of rich countries will shrink by twice as much as they did in the Covid-19 crisis if they fail to tackle rising greenhouse gas emissions, according to research.

The G7 countries – the world’s biggest industrialised economies – will lose 8.5% of GDP a year, or nearly $5tn wiped off their economies, within 30 years if temperatures rise by 2.6C, as they are likely to on the basis of government pledges and policies around the world, according to research from Oxfam and the Swiss Re Institute.

The economies of G7 nations contracted by about 4.2% on average in the coronavirus pandemic, and the economic losses from the climate crisis by 2050 would be roughly on the scale of suffering a similar crisis twice every year, according to the research. The UK’s economy would lose 6.5% a year by 2050 on current policies and projections, compared with 2.4% if the goals of the Paris climate agreement are met.

Other nations will be hit much worse, including India, whose economy will shrink by a quarter owing to a 2.6C temperature increase, while Australia will suffer a loss of 12.5% of output, and South Korea will lose nearly a tenth of its economic potential.

The leaders of the G7 countries – the UK, the US, Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy – and the EU will meet in Cornwall on Friday to discuss the global economy, Covid-19 vaccines, taxes on business, and the climate crisis.

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