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Climate change could cost more than $100 billion a year

By By Ivana Kottasova, CNN
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon March 31, 2014
  • 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.

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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?

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