New open-access research published in Nature explores the economic commitment of climate change. The findings reveal that the economic damages caused by climate change project a global income reduction of 19% within the next 26 years (2024-20249), due to temperature and precipitation changes from climate change, compared to a scenario without climate impacts. This is a conservative estimate, with a possible range of 11-29%.

The study is based on empirical findings from over 1,600 regions over 40 years, which are used to project sub-national damages, providing a robust lower bound on the persistence of impacts on economic growth. Regardless of future emission choices, committed damages arise predominantly through changes in average temperature, with further climatic components increasing estimates by approximately 50%. The findings emphasise the urgency of adaptation and mitigation efforts, highlighting that committed damages already outweigh the costs required to limit global warming to 2°C. Findings reveal that in mitigation vs. damage costs, the economic damages from climate change already exceed the costs of mitigation measures needed to limit global warming to 2°C by six times over the near term. Climate change impacts will not be evenly distributed with regional disparities. They are finding that regions at lower latitudes, which have historically contributed less to emissions and have lower incomes, are projected to face the most significant economic losses. The findings emphasise the urgency of both adaptation and mitigation efforts.

This article in EOS, a science news platform by AGU (American Geophysical Union), explores the findings from this study in an interview with co-author Anders Levermann, a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The article emphasises the forecasting aspect of these findings but stresses that “the climate simulations, which considered various emissions pathways, don’t diverge much in their predictions until mid-century. We won’t be able to avoid most of the damages estimated in the study by 2049”. Overall, the article stresses the importance of anticipatory action in the next 30-40 years to improve future scenarios and damage estimates, reiterating that mitigations are fundamentally cheaper than recovery.



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