Reactions: global income could decrease by 19% in two decades due to climate change

The global economy could lose, on average, 19% of income by 2049 due to increased carbon emissions over the past four decades, says an analysis published in Nature. To estimate the future economic damages of climate change, the authors used temperature and precipitation data for 1,600 regions worldwide in the past 40 years. Low-income countries will be more affected by these losses than higher-income countries, the authors warn. 

17/04/2024 - 17:00 CEST
Expert reactions

coste clima - Ana Iglesias EN

Ana Iglesias

Researcher at the Research Centre for the Management of Agricultural and Environmental Risks (CEIGRAM) 

Science Media Centre Spain

This is an excellent and rigorous study, that supplements previous work and is in line with the best current research. 

The study could have a big impact to [help] design our adaptation plans -both at a national and local level- with ethics and environmental justice in mind. But it is uncertain in how society might respond in terms of consumption (especially energy consumption), and that also has be taken into account.  


The author has declared they have no conflicts of interest

coste clima - Ilan Noy EN

Ilan Noy

Chair in the Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand)

Science Media Centre New Zealand

The authors of this paper clearly show that the transition to sustainable energy sources is significantly less costly than the cost we are already ‘committed’ to bearing by our past greenhouse emissions, so we would have been much better off had we not delayed climate action for so long. 

Overall, however, this kind of modelling approach is not suitable to conclude much about the costs of climate change at the local level [...]. This approach does not account for the local peculiarities of our economic activities [...]. 

But, the fact we cannot conclude much from this work about the local impact does not detract from the main message, that we should rapidly converge to a net-zero world. Afterall, the argument for us, and for everyone else around the world, to work toward net zero is not that our actions matter locally, but that it is their global impact that is the reason for the urgency we need to adopt.

The author has not responded to our request to declare conflicts of interest
The economic commitment of climate change
  • Research article
  • Peer reviewed
  • Modelling
Publication date

Maximilian Kotz et al.

Study types:
  • Research article
  • Peer reviewed
  • Modelling
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