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Heed to economic impact of climate change

Economists have once again sounded an alarm in a study that trillions of dollars worth of financial assets may be under threat from global warming by 2100, if no appropriate measures are taken to mitigate its impact. The World Economic Forum had also cautioned in January that climate change could be the biggest potential threat to the global economy in 2016.
As foreseen by economists, losses could soar to $24trillion, or 17% of the world’s assets, and wreck the global economy. They expect the losses would be caused by direct destruction of assets due to increasingly extreme weather events and also by a reduction in earnings for those affected by high temperatures, drought and other climate change impacts.
The dilemma is even if the 2 C warming agreed by the world’s nations in Paris last December is achieved, the value of assets at risk would be $1.7 trillion, the experts wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The economic effects of climate change may be even worse than this study makes them sound. The research relies on historical data from countries around the world on how temperature increase has affected productivity. This means the study does not account for the economic impact of sea level rise, storms or any of the other expected effects of climate change beyond simple warming.
It evokes horror when some scientists estimate that we are on course for warming of about 4C or more based on current greenhouse gas emission trends, or about 3C even if nations meet the emissions-curbing pledges they filed to back up the Paris climate agreement.
These horrifying scenarios push world further to adapt as quickly as possible to renewable energy. Middle Eastern and North African nations state they can make a “net benefit” of $750 billion if they achieve their set targets on the use of renewables. “Almost every country in the (MENA) region has a target for renewable energy from 5-15 percent by 2030,” Adnan Amin, director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), said.
His remarks were made in the light of world’s endeavour to double the current share of renewable energy of 16-17 percent in the global mix to 36 percent by 2030.
This is, of course, aimed at doubling the renewable energy share, which will help achieve the reduction by half of carbon emissions — a pre-requisite for limiting global warming to 2C as decided by the Paris climate change summit.
Global investments in renewable energy are accelerating. They rose by 22 percent last year to a record $330 billion. This comes as the cost of production of renewable energy has dropped significantly in the past few years. In the past five years, the cost of solar photovoltaic power generation has dropped by 80 percent. Renewables account for about 20 percent of global electricity generation.
As part of its efforts to tackle global warming, the UAE will formally sign Conference of Parties (COP) 21 global climate agreement on April 22, adopted by more than 195 countries in Paris. This was announced by UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, on Monday.
Indeed, the study on the economic effects of the global warming will spur leaders to agree for stronger action to address climate change. We have only one Earth and time is running out to save it!

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