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Economic Impact of the Environmental Crisis

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

On Stockholm+50 by Mysha Sadman

Climate change is the most serious accumulative issue that we are now confronting. Our capacity to correctly address climate change and how we manage to avoid serious difficulties related to the conditions will determine both our present and future. Global temperatures are expected to climb up to 2.7 to 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, according to projections. This increase in global temperature of one or more degrees may appear insignificant, but it has significant ramifications and effects on the life of every species on the planet. The last ice age happened 20,000 years ago, and the temperature difference between then and now was -5°C. Climate change is not linear, but exponential, and the repercussions of +4°C are far greater than those of +1°C. We are now unable to anticipate the extent to which it will disrupt life on Earth. Climate change is irrevocable, and melted glaciers cannot be replaced.

Global warming puts wild life in jeopardy, drives species to extinction, and pushes humans out of their homes. As species are driven to extinction as a result of climate change and high temperatures, our right to life, liberty, and property is violated.

There is a lot of evidence that the environmental problem is having a negative economic impact. Extreme weather, biodiversity loss, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers are all examples of climatic extremes that have significant economic consequences. These environmental repercussions have a long-term impact on communities affected by catastrophic climate change, since millions of people throughout the world experience massive economic upheavals and lose their livelihood as a result of the crisis.

Only 1% of the population is responsible for 86 percent of CO2 emissions, while the remaining 9 percent is accountable for only 0.5 percent of world CO2. The problem is that the poorer, more vulnerable sections of the population are already being affected by climate change and will continue to do so in the future. Coastal regions are at risk of being submerged owing to rising sea levels, particularly in nations like Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, and China by 2050, despite the fact that these countries have the lowest carbon footprints and generate the fewest GHGs.

According to the report published by the Greenpeace Southeast Asia and Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air, Bangladesh, for example, has to pay a total loss of $14 billion per year owing to air pollution. Furthermore, according to 2018 statistics, around 96,000 children (estimated) died before the age of 15 in Bangladesh as a result of PM2.5 exposure. Although it may appear to be a national issue, air pollution is created by the burning of fossil fuels, which affects billions of people every day and is now a severe danger to children's health, especially in low-income nations. Every year, air pollution kills over 4.5 million people prematurely throughout the world, with 40,000 children dying before their fifth birthday as a result of PM2.5 exposure. Because PM2.5 is lighter than other forms of particulate matter and tends to linger in the air longer, it is harmful. PM2.5 pollution is caused by the use of fossil fuels. It is estimated that it causes around 1.8 billion days of work absence due to illness each year all over the world, resulting in an annual loss of $101 billion.

This is only one of many examples of environmental crisis variables that offer the greatest health risk and financial expense owing to poor air quality, which results in missed work, increased hospitalization, and death of young people.

Droughts produced by harsh weather conditions, for example, practically govern the spending trends of nations that rely primarily on agriculture or have low GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The exceptionally hard winters (dzud) of Mongolia, for example, place a significant strain on all save the wealthiest herding households. According to the sample data, animal mortality rises to 71%, reducing food security and the likelihood of children completing basic school. Because of the consequences of extreme weather, this effect is enormous and poses serious economic concerns.

The stock markets, which interact with and influence the economy, may also be used to understand the economic effects of environmental disasters. Low media coverage of storms in the United States, as well as frequent references to a more destructive prior occurrence (Hurricane Katrina), have been linked to good stock market movements.

In Germany's instance, experts have forecasted A coal phase out might reduce employment and income levels in the three extraction areas, potentially resulting in policy conflicts between economic, climate, and social policies.

Environmental impact is interrelated to the economic growth of a country. Depending on the environmental effects a country can make or break its economic stability and influence the livelihood of its people. The best solution to the environmental crisis until today is the plan to curb the global temperatures and keep it below 1.5 degrees Celsius pre-industrial level to try to undo the years and years of environmental damages. If countries are successful in keeping up with the plan, an environmental breakthrough will ensure stability for the global economy and climate.

Mysha Sadman is a Youth Empowerment in Climate Action Platform (YECAP) Fellow.



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