See How Much Climate Change Has Cost Different Countries

See How Much Climate Change Has Cost Different Countries

Low-income nations bear the brunt of costs from climate change

Credit: Amanda Montanez

The top five greenhouse gas-emitting nations–the U.S., China, Russia, Brazil and India–collectively caused $6 trillion in global economic losses between 1990 and 2014, according to a recent study of available data. These losses have not been felt equally. Climate scientists at Dartmouth College, Justin S. Mankin and Justin W. Callahan used climate models to calculate how much of the planet’s warming can be attributed each country’s emission and what that has cost every country. The scientists found that the global average temperature rose was linked to the warming in each country (because some regions of the world are heating faster than others), and then to the change in the country’s gross domestic products. Callahan states that the compounding inequalities were a striking feature of the results. Wealthier countries used more fossil fuels to drive their economic growth, while low-income countries, which are already less able adapt to changing climates, suffered the brunt.

Chart shows per capita GDP change in the 10 countries with the largest losses linked to the top emitters from 1960 to 2014.
Credit: Amanda Montanez; Source: “National Attribution of Historical Climate Damages,” by Christopher W. Callahan and Justin S. Mankin, in Climatic Change, Vol. 172; July 12, 2022
World map shows GDP change by country from U.S. emissions, from 1990 to 2014, with losses dominating the southern hemisphere.
Credit: Amanda Montanez; Source: “National Attribution of Historical Climate Damages,” by Christopher W. Callahan and Justin S. Mankin, in Climatic Change, Vol. 172; July 12, 2022

This article was originally published with the title “The Cost of Climate Change” in Scientific American 327, 5, 88 (November 2022)

doi: 10. 1038/scientificamerican1122-88

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

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    Andrea Thompson, an associate editor at Scientific American, covers sustainability. Follow Andrea Thompson on Twitter Credit: Nick

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