If the world’s governments are truly looking at ways to reduce expenditure, then they would do well to look at a new study from the Stockholm Environment Institute. The new report, called “Valuing the Oceans”, reveals that if the rise of greenhouse gases continues to go unchecked, it will result in lasting damage that will cost the world a staggering $2 trillion each year.
The study states that if the seas continue to get warmer, this will lead to greater acidification and oxygen loss. This will not only destroy coral reefs and the creatures that live in them, but it will devastate the fishing industries. There is also a human cost, as low-lying areas stand to be heavily affected by rising sea levels and stronger storms. The study notes that areas around the coastlines of Africa and Asia are particularly at risk.
The report states that if temperatures continue to rise with a projected increase of four degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, the cost in 2050 will be $428 billion annually, or 0.25 percent of global domestic product (GDP). By 2100, the cost would rise to $1,979 billion, or 0.37 percent of output.
If global governments choose to act now and warming is limited to 2.2 C (4 F), the cost in 2050 would ONLY be $105 billion, or 0.06 percent of worldwide GDP, rising to $612 billion, or 0.11 percent, by 2100.
“This is not a scaremongering forecast,” says the report. “The ocean has always been thought of as the epitome of unconquerable, inexhaustible vastness and variety, but this ‘plenty more fish in the sea’ image may be its worst enemy.”
What is even more worrying is that this figure could be conservative, as the report does not take into account the cost for small island states swamped by rising seas or the devastation to the world’s eco systems and how that will affect the food chain.