Climate Crisis Will Squeeze G7 Economies Twice As Covid-19, Research Finds | Climate change

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The economies of rich countries will contract twice as much as during the Covid-19 crisis if they fail to tackle rising greenhouse gas emissions, research shows.

The G7 countries – the largest industrialized economies in the world – will lose 8.5% of GDP per year, or nearly $ 5 billion wiped out of their economies, within 30 years if temperatures rise by 2.6 ° C. , as they likely will on the basis of government commitments and policies around the world, according to research from Oxfam and the Swiss Re Institute.

The economies of the G7 countries contracted by around 4.2% on average during the coronavirus pandemic, and economic losses from the climate crisis by 2050 would be about the magnitude of experiencing a crisis similar twice a year, according to research. The British economy would lose 6.5% per year by 2050 on current policies and projections, compared to 2.4% if the objectives of the Paris climate agreement are met.

Other countries will be much more affected, including India, whose economy will contract by a quarter due to a temperature increase of 2.6 ° C, while Australia will suffer a loss of 12, 5% of its production and South Korea will lose almost a tenth of its economic potential. .

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

Modeling by insurance company Swiss Re took into account the predicted direct impacts of climate degradation, including extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods, as well as the effects on agricultural productivity, health and heat stress.

Jerome Haegeli, Group Chief Economist at Swiss Re, said: “Climate change is the number one long-term risk to the global economy, and staying where we are is not an option – we need more. progress on the part of the G7. This means not only obligations on the reduction of CO2 but helping developing countries too is super important.

He said Covid-19 vaccines were also a key way to help developing countries, as their economies have been hit hard by the pandemic and would need help getting back on a green lane, rather than stimulate fossil fuels.

The insurer found that the policies and commitments made by governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were still insufficient to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. In addition to hosting the G7 summit, the UK will host vital UN climate talks, called Cop26, in November in Glasgow.

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Pressure on the UK in the run-up to Cop26

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Pressure on the UK in the run-up to Cop26

Climate activists and experts are increasingly concerned about a series of government actions that appear to be out of step with the government’s commitment to net zero emissions, ahead of hosting vital UN climate talks, called Cop26, in November in Glasgow. As host and chairman of the talks, the UK will need to bring warring nations together to agree to dramatically cut emissions over the next decade and achieve net zero emissions by mid-century.

Rebecca Newsom, politician at Greenpeace UK, said government must reject airport expansion to show leadership at Cop26: “If this is true, suspending plans is a sign the government is starting to measure the catastrophic impacts of this proposed expansion. But we’re only months away from hosting critical global climate talks, and this climate-destroying mega-project is clearly incompatible with our plans to cut emissions, so why just delay the decision and not just do it. call now? Canceling expansion plans before the start of the World Climate Summit would be a real show of climate leadership. “

Environmental groups received assurances from officials in 2019 that decisions on new infrastructure that could increase greenhouse gas emissions take into account the government’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. However, the Supreme Court ruled last December that the government’s commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement could effectively be ignored in the decision to go ahead with a third runway at Heathrow.

A group of more than 130 prominent scientists, academics and lawyers, including former NASA scientist James Hansen and former UK chief scientist Sir David King, wrote to the government last week expressing concern over the decision of the Supreme Court and warn that the government’s international climate commitments were being ignored. They wrote: “The UK’s highest court has set a precedent that large national projects can continue even if they are not compatible with maintaining the temperature limit upon which our collective survival depends. Indeed, the precedent goes even further. He says the government is not even required to consider the goals of an agreement that is almost universally accepted. Not only does this undermine the UK’s status as a champion of the Paris Agreement just before Cop26. It also greatly reduces the chances of humanity to maintain this limit and therefore avoid disaster. “

Other recent controversial decisions, such as initial government support for the Cumbrian coal mine and a new round of licenses granted to extract oil and gas from the North Sea, have also raised concerns. The government cut its main green stimulus, the Green Home Grant, which aimed to create thousands of green jobs by helping households install insulation and reduce incentives to buy electric cars.

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Ahead of Cop26, the UK calls on all countries to make tighter carbon commitments in order to meet the Paris targets of limiting global heating to well below 2C, and preferably no more than 1.5C, above pre-industrial levels. The lower limit is increasingly threatened, as greenhouse gas emissions are expected to rise sharply this year, by the second highest jump on record, due to the rebound from the Covid-19 recession and the increasing use of coal.

Danny Sriskandarajah, Managing Director of Oxfam GB, said: “The climate crisis is already devastating lives in the poorest countries, but the world’s most developed economies are not immune. The UK government has a unique opportunity to lead the world to a safer and more livable planet for all of us.

“It should strain all diplomatic nerves to achieve the strongest possible outcome at the G7 and Cop26, and set an example by turning promises into action and overturning doomed decisions like the project. coal mine in Cumbria and cuts in aid abroad. “

The record of Boris Johnson’s government has been scrutinized closely in the run-up to the G7 and Cop26 meetings. Figures in climate diplomacy have said the prime minister needs to ‘get on top’ of the UN talks to ensure their success, as disputes over a new coal mine project, the decision to cut aid to overseas from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP, and issues such as new oil and gas licenses for the North Sea, removal of the green house subsidy and incentives for electric vehicles, and airport expansion, have all undermined the government’s green credentials.

Aid abroad has been the main sticking point for many, described as a diplomatic disaster when the success of Cop26 depends in part on the UK persuading other wealthy countries at the summit. G7 to make much higher commitments of financial assistance to the developing world, helping poor countries reduce their emissions and cope with the impacts of climate degradation.

Dozens of Tory rebels plan to try to force the government to back down on aid cuts in a key vote on Monday. The row and rising Covid cases over new variants of the virus threaten to overshadow what Johnson had hoped to be an uplifting meeting celebrating vaccine success and laying the groundwork for a successful Cop26 in Glasgow in November.

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