Heatwaves have cost the world economy trillions of dollars over the past two decades!

Heatwaves have cost the world economy trillions of dollars over the past two decades!

In fact, heat waves are just one of the problems caused by climate change.

Heatwaves caused by human-caused climate change have cost the global economy at least $16 trillion since the 1990s, researchers say, according to a new study. The enormous impact of high temperatures on human health, productivity and agricultural output – a particularly heavy burden on the world’s poorest people.

In summer, temperatures in many parts of the world are very high. This is something we’ve all as‌sumed, but sometimes heat can get extreme and also last days, weeks, and even months. This phenomenon is called a heat wave, and can have extremely serious consequences for health and life.

Researchers at Dartmouth College combined economic data with average temperatures over the hottest five-day period for each global region. They found that between 1992 and 2013 the heat waves that occurred coincided with changes in economic growth, the difference between high- and low-income regions. The average loss amounted to 16 trillion dollars.

Heat waves are not only uncomfortable for humans, but they can also be dangerous to health, leading to illness and even death, especially among the most vulnerable (such as the elderly and children). Due to climate change, heat waves are becoming more frequent, more intense and lasting longer. The average global temperature has increased by 1.1 degrees Celsius since the industrial era.

A heat wave is an unusually high temperature wave that lasts for days or weeks and that also affects a significant geographical portion of a country. How many days or weeks? The truth is that there is no “official” definition, so it is difficult to specify how much. In Spain, it is said to be a heat wave when extreme temperatures are recorded (taking the period 1971-2000 as a reference) in at least 10% of meteorological stations for at least three days. But actually this threshold can vary a lot depending on the country.

“Increased intensity of heat stress significantly reduces economic growth in relatively warm tropics,” the researchers write. This has increased fundamental inequality, disproportionately damaging commensurate with low-income, low-emissions regions, with large emitters primarily responsible for billions of dollars in losses.”

The researchers describe their study as the first to quantify the economic costs of extreme heat caused by climate change. They did not analyze data after 2013, meaning their estimates would likely increase significantly if extended to the present time. 2022 is the year that has broken several temperature records, including in the UK, Europe and China.

While the richest countries have lost about 1.5% of their GDP per capita annually because of the heat wave, the poorer countries have lost about 6.7% of their GDP per capita annually. The reason for that disparity is simple. Poor countries are located closer to the tropics, where temperatures are warmer. During heatwaves, these areas also become hotter, causing more problems.

In very rare cases, some wealthy countries may even benefit from the extreme heat caused by climate change, the researchers say. Research shows that some areas in Europe and North America could theoretically benefit from global warming. These regions are some of the wealthiest and biggest contributors to climate change.

As it highlights the difference between the rich countries that contribute the most to climate change and the poorest countries that have to deal with its effects, the study has the potential to fuel the debate between States about who should pay the cost to prevent or repair the damage. These discussions will appear at the upcoming United Nations climate summit COP27.

During the hottest times, our electricity consumption spikes, we need to cool down and for this we plug in the fan and / or turn on the air conditioner. But this can be a problem, as increased consumption can lead to power outages.

Warming has increased the frequency and intensity of heat poles that are well known, but our results show the economic damage of these events and their global distribution,” the researchers write. their unevenness “. ” Our work thus increases the urgency of both climate mitigation efforts and adaptation-focused investments .”   

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