Tags: climate | change | impact Costs

UN: Climate Change Costs to Poor Underestimated

Friday, 05 Dec 2014 06:45 PM

The cost to poor countries of adjusting to ever-hotter temperatures will be two or even three times higher than previously thought, the U.N.'s environment agency said Friday — and that assumes a best-case scenario in which greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced.

"If you don't cut emissions, we're just going to have to ask for more money because the damage is going to be worse," Ronald Jumeau of the Seychelles said at U.N. climate talks.

The report was bound to sharpen disputes in Lima over who pays the bills for the impacts of global warming, whose primary cause is the burning of coal, oil and gas but which also includes deforestation. It has long been the thorniest issue at the U.N. negotiations, now in their 20th round.

Rich countries have pledged to help the developing world convert to clean energy and adapt to shifts in global weather that are already adversely affecting crops, human health and economies. But poor countries say they're not seeing enough cash.

Projecting the annual costs that poor countries will face by 2050 just to adapt, the United Nations Environment Program report deemed the previous estimate of $70 billion to $100 billion "a significant underestimate." It had been based on 2010 World Bank numbers.

The report says new studies indicate the costs will likely be "two to three times higher," possibly even as high as $500 billion.

But that's only if global warming stays below 3.2 degrees Fahrenheit compared to pre-industrial times, the limit set in the U.N. talks. Scientists say that would require cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that the world is nowhere near on track to accomplish.

"The report provides a powerful reminder that the potential cost of inaction carries a real price tag," UNEP director Achim Steiner said in a statement.

Climate change impacts, including rising sea levels, shifts in rainfall patterns and more intense heat waves, affect all countries but the latter aren't well equipped to cope.

They need help to protect their shorelines, crops, and freshwater resources from rising seas, droughts and floods.

"We know what needs to be done. We just need the dollars or euros," said Jumeau, who is also spokesman for small island states. The Seychelles is struggling to protect beaches from eroding, freshwater wells from drying up and coral reefs from being damaged, he said.

There is concern in Latin America that gains against poverty in the past two decades will be reversed due to climate change.

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The cost to poor countries of adjusting to ever-hotter temperatures will be two or even three times higher than previously thought, the U.N.'s environment agency said Friday - and that assumes a best-case scenario in which greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced....
climate, change, impact Costs
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2014-45-05
Friday, 05 Dec 2014 06:45 PM
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