The Few Polluters
Listen to Today's Edition
A new study found that greenhouse emissions from the United States and China have each caused global economic losses of more than $1.8 trillion from 1990 to 2014, a report that links specific countries’ emissions to the economic impacts of climate change in other nations, CNBC reported.
The Dartmouth College report said a few top emitter countries are causing significant economic losses for poorer nations that are more vulnerable to global warming. The findings showed that only five nations were responsible for $6 trillion in global economic losses through warming during the 24-year period.
Apart from China and the US, Russia, India and Brazil individually caused losses beyond $500 billion each during the same period.
Researchers noted that climate change has cost countries money by diminishing agricultural yields, lowering worker productivity and cutting industrial production.
Specifically, the study showed that countries that experience economic losses from US emissions have warmer temperatures and are poorer than the global average. Many of them are in the global South and the tropics.
For example, Mexico saw economic losses of nearly $80 billion between 1990 and 2014 because of emissions generated by the US.
On the other hand, nations in the North or middle latitudes – generally wealthy and with cooler temperatures – have benefited from these emissions.
The impact of climate change is also unequally distributed, with the top 10 emitting nations accounting for more than two-thirds of worldwide losses.
The authors explained that the results confirm “there is a scientific basis for climate liability claims,” noting that they have “quantified each nation’s culpability for historical temperature-driven income changes in every other country.”
Although most climate-related lawsuits have targeted oil and gas companies, a number of countries have been demanding compensation from wealthier nations for the “loss and damage” caused by climate-changing emissions.