03 Aug, 2020 12:30 AM / by Quek Leng Chuang
The costs of Climate change for Singapore and the world
“Renewable energies are not economically viable!” “It is too costly for Singapore to secure a sustainable energy supply not based on fossil fuels!” … Such statements are still commonly heard. Many people, even decision makers on high political levels see the costs of sustainable, renewable energy, organic agriculture and alternative means of transportation are still seen as too costly in comparison with the conventional, polluting alternatives. However, the costs of not acting against the devastating effects of climate change are much higher.
The true cost of inaction
Firstly, due to climate change and melting ice caps, sea levels are expected to rise. As many world cities are built at sea shores, urban assets worth more than 35,000 billion USD are in danger.
Climate change means not just warmer weather but more extreme weather phenomena. We already see tsunamis, forest fires, extreme dry periods or flood on the rise everywhere in the world. These do not only devastate infrastructure but also lead to smaller harvests, adding pressure to the whole food supply chain. Global flood damages alone are expected to amount to 0.7-1.8 trillion USD.
Also, less obvious financial burdens such as higher cooling costs for buildings during hot and dry summers or costs for more irrigation due to less frequent rainfalls add up to the bill we have to pay if we do not try to stop climate change. Moreover, climate change is increasingly killing people around the globe, either directly or indirectly. For example, extreme heat waves in summer 2019 killed 1435 people alone in France. Due to higher temperatures, diseases also spread easier. Mosquitos increase their habitats and spread dangerous illnesses such as Malaria or Dengue fever, the former already killing 438 000 people per year. With 96 million people per year infected alone by dengue, these effects of climate change increasingly pressurize our health systems and lead to further costs.
There are different approaches to calculate the total costs of climate change. According to a model from economist William Nordhaus, the costs rise at an exponential speed. For a 4 degree Celsius increase in global temperature, costs will amount to 4% of the global GDP. In 2018, global world GDP was 84.93 trillion US Dollars. Damages of a 4 degree rise would therefore impose costs of 3.397 trillion US dollar on the global economy, a 2 degree rise would still mean we have to spend around 1% (0.8493 trillion US dollars) to clear up the damages. But if humanity does not act at all against climate change, costs will be much higher indeed.
These calculations show: Adapting our systems and pursuing a low carbon approach is indeed cheaper than doing nothing against climate change! But how can you reduce or compensate your carbon emissions? Get in touch with us and make a difference today.
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Topics: Carbon Neutrality, Carbon Offset, Catalytic Converters, Corporate Social Responsbility, Environmental Offset, Metal Waste, Packaging Waste, Reimagining Sustainability, Sustainability in Singapore, Wood Waste
Written by Quek Leng Chuang
LengChuang is a chemical engineer and an expert in carbonomics. He is the founder and owner of Environmental Solutions (Asia) Pte Ltd.