Monday, January 24

The global economy can grow if the world warms to less than 1.5 ° C, according to a study

The global economy will be 2% larger by the end of the century if the world can keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to a new study.

Most models predict a period in which the world exceeds that mark for several years or decades, before cooling back down to the 1.5 degrees (2.7 Fahrenheit) mark by 2100. This would require removing carbon existing atmosphere on an impractically large scale, according to research published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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Based on the modeling of nine teams, principal investigator Keywan Riahi, director of the energy program at the Austrian research institute IIASA, found that it may be impossible, and a temporary excess would likely increase extreme weather, such as floods and wildfires. To avoid permanent damage to ecosystems, the world must avoid going over the mark entirely, the report warned. By doing so, there will be less need to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, a process known as net negative emissions.

“Rapid emission cuts in the next few decades would mean there is no need to go downright negative,” said co-author Christoph Bertram, a climate impact researcher at the Potsdam Institute in Germany. “Instead, global temperatures would stabilize at a given level around the time we reach net zero emissions.”

In addition to protecting the planet, achieving net zero, a goal of completely nullifying the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity, would have long-term economic benefits. “The initial investment to achieve rapid transformations towards a net zero global system will pay off in the long term,” said Riahi.

In fact, world GDP could grow even more than 2%, according to another co-author, Laurent Drouet, a senior scientist at the climate research group CMCC in Italy. Drouet said the calculation used in the study does not include the economic damage from climate change, which would be more severe above 1.5 degrees.

The study warned that to stay below that threshold, countries must improve their emissions targets under the Paris Agreement. Current pledges imply a slow start to mitigation and must be dramatically increased, according to the report.

The transport sector is key to success, according to the study. A recent report from the global climate leadership group C40 Cities says that global public transportation use must double by 2030 to meet targets.

Daniel Huppmann, co-author and researcher at IIASA, called for a radical change in transportation to support decarbonization. “A mobility revolution will be crucial to reduce dependence on net negative emissions technologies and mitigate their risks and negative social impact,” he said.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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