Climate Change Costs


The challenges we face due to the effects of climate change are unprecedented.

Its reach is widespread, taking into account damage to ecosystems - which in turn effects entire nation’s infrastructures - the economy and peoples' health. Already we are seeing extreme weather conditions leading to widespread hunger and disease.

Reports find that unless action is taken now, the economic costs of climate change could amount to US$20 trillion annually by 2100 - that’s 6-8% of global economic output. Since 1990, annual losses of around $60 billion due to climate change have been recorded - with 2005 costing a record $200 billion.

In the US, Hurricane Katrina cost $125 billion in economic losses. The European heat wave in 2003 cost $15 billion in damages. Flood damage costs in Europe are anticipated to rise from $10 billion to $120-$150 in the years ahead.

Massive amounts of revenue will be lost from the collapse of the tourist industry as places of natural beauty and tranquillity are irreparably damaged. An example of this is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Currently attracting millions of visitors each year, it is already showing signs of dying. If ocean temperatures continue to increase, it is predicted that 95% of the Barrier Reef’s living coral will soon be lost.

There is not one part of the world or any one individual living on the planet that will go unaffected by the serious results of inaction on climate change.



Predictions of the timescale in which we may expect to experience the most serious effects of climate change have been seen to be conservative, with many events, such as the complete melting of Arctic ice, being revised to occur sooner as the science is better understood. The cost of not putting climate change mitigation at the top of the agenda now could be immeasurable.

Further delay will increase the costs of reducing emissions and will risk us reaching the point of no return. As the cost of action is far less than cost of inaction, reports show that policies put foward with the goal of mitigating global warming in the short term will not have a major impact on the economy.