Skip to main content

Climate change could cost more than $100 billion a year

By By Ivana Kottasova, CNN
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon March 31, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Climate change could cost more than $100 billion a year, the UN panel of experts said
  • Experts say the bill could be much higher if emissions continue at the current pace
  • The report is the second part of the IPCC's benchmark assessment of climate change

(CNN) -- Tackling the effects of climate change could cost governments around the world more than $100 billion a year, a United Nations panel of experts said Monday.

A report by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says that a temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius will wipe out up to 2% of the world's income by 2050.

But it says the price tag could grow even higher if the world's governments fail to address the looming climate change.

"If we get up to 4 degrees temperature rise, which most scientists now expect would happen if we carry on emitting greenhouse gasses as we do, then the cost could be much more severe," Chris Hope, a climate change researcher at Cambridge University said.

U.N. climate report: Time running out
deGrasse Tyson on climate change deniers

The combined cost of crop losses, rising sea levels, higher temperatures and fresh water shortages could mount of to between $70 and $100 billion a year, the report said.

But these estimates do not account for catastrophic scenarios, which researchers said tend to have the most devastating effect.

Typhoon Haiyan, which swept through Philippines in November, killed 6,000 people and cost more than $10 billion.

When severe floods hit parts of the UK earlier this year, the Federation of Small Businesses estimated the overall cost to businesses to be $1.3 billion. And according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the 2012 drought -- the worst in 25 years -- pushed up poultry prices by 5.5% and egg prices by 7%.

The report says crop yields will fall by 2% per decade, as the rising temperature affects some of the world's major crops -- such as rice, maze or wheat.

Carbon dioxide benchmark hits new heights, worries scientists

Hope said that if people continue to emit greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, the bill will grow for everyone.

"It looks as though it's about $125 worth of extra impact for every one more ton of Carbon Dioxide we put in the atmosphere -- that comes up to around $0.20 per a liter of gasoline," he said.

"Businesses must expect that, if we are serious about climate change, at some point they are going to be charged that kind of money if they carry on using gas coal, oil, gas, fossil fuels which emit those kind of gasses to the atmosphere," he added.

The report, released in Yokohama, Japan, is the second part of the IPCC's benchmark assessment of climate change, a document released every six years. Nearly 1,000 scientists contributed to it.

Read more: Wake up to the reality of climate change
Read more: Little time left to turn down the world's heat
Opinion: Why are we still debating climate change?

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:52 AM EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
Jim Boulden on the future of online shopping.
updated 4:42 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is Turkey's new president . So can he revitalize its economic fortunes?
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
The European Union is stepping in to save its dairy from going sour.
updated 8:36 AM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
Europe's deteriorating relationship with Russia has hit the region's growth, even before new food sanctions begin to bite.
updated 12:34 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
With cyberattacks on the rise and here to stay, it's a modern-day challenge for people and businesses to get smarter about preventing them.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Airstrikes, rebels seizing control of oil fields, plus a severe refugee crisis are a recipe for market panic. So why are Iraq oil prices stable?
updated 11:24 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Evidence points to pro-Russian separatists as perpetrators of the attack and Vladimir Putin is facing uncomfortable questions, David Clark writes.
updated 10:40 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
The biggest Ebola outbreak in history is taking its toll in Western Africa, hitting some of West Africa's most vulnerable economies.
updated 5:02 AM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
Macau has overtaken Switzerland in the wealth stakes, being named the world's fourth richest territory by the World Bank.
updated 10:47 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Saudi Arabian Bateel brand is best known for its delectable dates but it now has more than a dozen cafes and a new bakery in the works.
updated 7:00 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material. It is so dark the human eye can't discern its shape and form.
updated 12:02 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Jibo robot is designed to be an organizer, educator and assist family members. CNN's Maggie Lake met him and says she was impressed with his skills.
updated 5:09 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
American burger joints have sprung up all over London, but how to know which ones are best? CNN's Jim Boulden investigates.
updated 8:22 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
Sandwiched in between Iraq and Syria, Jordan's destiny seems to be one of a constant struggle for survival. John Defterios explains.
updated 11:02 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
At the last football World Cup, it was all about 3D. This time around, it's nothing less than 4K.
updated 6:58 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Bob Mazzer has photographed inside London's Tube network for 40 years. He's captured history.
updated 1:12 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Exotic animals are becoming a profitable business opportunity for Nicaraguan entrepreneurs. CNN's Rafael Romo reports.
updated 11:29 AM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
Iraq produces 3.3 million barrels per day and has the world's fourth-largest oil reserves. But the current crisis is putting all this in danger.
updated 8:22 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
Sandwiched in between Iraq and Syria, Jordan's destiny seems to be one of a constant struggle for survival. John Defterios explains.
updated 9:14 AM EDT, Mon June 16, 2014
The gas standoff between Russia and Ukraine could have a knock-on effect on Europe. Explore this map to find out why is the EU nervous.
updated 6:58 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Bob Mazzer has photographed inside London's Tube network for 40 years. He's captured history.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Tue June 17, 2014
The UK capital promotes its tech stars and shows it can compete with Silicon Valley. Here are five companies that pitch to make it big.
ADVERTISEMENT