Climate change could shave off $7.9trn of the world economy by 2050

Of the countries evaluated, Angola stood to lose the most - as much as 6.1% of GDP

Climate change could cost the world economy $7.9trn by mid-century as increased drought, flooding and crop failures hamper growth and threaten infrastructure, new analysis showed Wednesday. The conclusions are part of Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Climate Change Resilience Index, which measured the preparedness of the world's 82 largest economies.

As a result it found that  based on current trends the fallout of warming temperatures would shave off some 3% of global GDP by 2050. This means the global economy was projected to hit $250trn by 2050, as opposed to $258trn with no climate impact.

Moreover, EIU's analysis, which assesses each country's direct exposure to loss as climate change brings more frequent extreme weather events, found that Angola stood to lose the most - as much as 6.1% of GDP. The study put this down to a mixture of a lack of quality infrastructure, as well as its geographical exposure to severe drought, soil erosion and rising sea levels. Land degradation in Angola would prove a "significant" economic hindrance, the report said, given that agriculture is its largest employer.

Nigeria (5.9% negative GDP), Egypt (5.5%), Bangladesh (5.4%) and Venezuela (5.1%) were the next most climate vulnerable nations identified in the analysis.

"Being rich matters," John Ferguson, EIU country analysis director, told AFP in a comment on the report, continuing that the global inequality is making the challenges on climate change in the developing world much greater.

"Richer nations are really able to be more resilient towards the impacts of climate change, so this really threatens growth trajectories of the developing world as they try to catch up with the developed world," he added.

Still, of the countries evaluated, Russia was also predicted to lose 5% percent of GDP by 2050, while at the same time "suffering more than most other countries in the world from the negative effects of climate change". This held true even when potential benefits in increased agriculture were taken into account, since melting permafrost was still among the biggest drags on Russia's economy in the coming decades.

Nations agreed in Paris in 2015 to work to limit temperature rises to "well below" two degrees Celsius, and 1.5-C if possible. To do so, the global economy must rapidly decrease its greenhouse gas emissions - a source of controversy in developing nations which say their economic growth shouldn't suffer after decades of fossil fuel use by wealthier countries.

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