Climate change is a global problem. So when one country produces carbon pollution, it causes warming in other countries, too. That can cause economic losses — for example, by making it harder to grow crops.
Christopher Callahan is a Ph.D. student in the climate modeling and impacts group at Dartmouth College. His team analyzed how much individual countries have contributed to global warming and the effects of that warming on other countries and their economies.
“We found that individual major emitters have caused substantial economic changes across the globe,” he says.
According to the study, warming caused by just five countries — the U.S., China, Russia, Brazil, and India – has caused $6 trillion in global economic losses.
And those losses have not been suffered equally. The burden has fallen disproportionately on low-income countries that have contributed the least to the problem.
Callahan says the study could be used to help hold high-polluting nations accountable.
“Our work really lends additional urgency to what we all know is already necessary, which is substantial near-term action to reduce our emissions, to meet the commitments the United States and other countries have made in the international arena,” he says.
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media