Five countries owe €6 trillion in climate reparations: new study
A new research has found that a small group of heavy polluters has caused trillions of dollars of economic losses due to warming caused by their emissions.
Historically, rich countries have emitted the most greenhouse gases. It has led environmental activists and some government officials to call on these industrialised nations to pay the highest amounts and even offer reparations to poorer countries.
The study from US-based Dartmouth College has been billed as a potential game-changer for climate litigation as figures could be used in courtrooms or international climate negotiations to work out payments from countries that burn more fossil fuels.
Researchers found that a small group of heavy polluters has caused trillions of dollars of economic losses due to warming caused by their emissions. The top 10 global emitters caused more than two-thirds of losses worldwide. Warmer and poorer countries in the Global South have been hit hardest.
The world's two leading emitters, the US and China, each caused total global income losses of $1.8 trillion (€1.79 trillion) from 1990 to 2014. Russia, India, and Brazil caused losses exceeding $500 billion (€498 billion) each for the same years.
In total, these five countries account for around €6 trillion in cumulative losses roughly 11 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the study period.
The analysis also breaks the data down to show the damage done by a single emitter to another individual country's economy.
"This research provides legally valuable estimates of the financial damages individual nations have suffered due to other countries' climate-changing activities," says Mankin.
The analysis looked at how much carbon each nation emitted and the impact that had on global warming. Researchers then connected that to studies that show how rising temperatures have impacted economies around the world.
Two million possible values for each country-to-country interaction were sampled and a supercomputer was used to crunch a total of 11 trillion values to quantify and address uncertainties around cause-and-effect.
Jill Pole & Reuters