Global warming is cooling many global economies

File photo: Heat from the Dixie Fire bent streetlights to the ground, as the blaze ripped through Greenville, California. — © AFP/File

Climate change is affecting much of the Earth and how we interact with it. It’s not just related to biology, but also how economies develop. We look at three areas of research that offer another look at the problem of climate change.

Global warming is cooling economies

Economies are sensitive to persistent temperature shocks over a period of at least 10 years and with recent increases in global temperatures, climate change has impacted economic growth in many countries.

A study from the University of California – Davis analyzed the effect of rising global temperatures and climate change on gross domestic product (GDP). The result of the economic assessment is that almost a quarter of the countries studied are sensitive to such impacts.

To take an example, the El Niño Southern Oscillation is a 3-7 year temperature fluctuation in the Pacific Ocean that affects temperature and precipitation in many parts of the world. The GDP effects of these types of low-frequency oscillations are also significant and long-lasting in many countries in this region.

The research appears in the newspaper Environmental Research Letterstitled “Persistent Effect of Temperature on GDP Identified from Lower Frequency Temperature Variability”.

Global warming triggers diseases

A complete solution evaluation of the scientific literature found empirical evidence that more than 58% of human illnesses caused by pathogens, such as dengue fever, hepatitis, pneumonia, malaria, Zika and many more, have been – at some point – aggravated by climatic hazards.

Pathogenic diseases are mainly transmitted by vectors, as well as by waterborne, airborne, direct contact and foodborne routes of transmission. Overall, 218 of the 375 known human pathogenic diseases were affected at some time, by at least one climate hazard, via 1,006 unique pathways.

The research appears in the newspaper Natural climate change entitled “More than half of known human pathogenic diseases can be aggravated by climate change”.

Risk assessment

The two areas above indicate the need for careful planning and risk management. Here, studies show that simultaneous extreme heat and drought events have consequences in a variety of fields, such as economics and medicine, as noted above; but also overall health and food production.

Moreover, due to complex socio-economic linkages, these more frequent extreme events can have ripple effects. Therefore, scientists from the University of Zurich conclude that more systematic risk assessments are needed to make affected regions more resilient and to enable governments to plan better.

The research appears in the newspaper PLOS Climate changetitled “Towards a Better Understanding of the Cascading and Interconnected Risks of Simultaneous Extreme Weather Events: Analysis of Historical Extreme Heat and Drought Events”.

Teresa H. Sadler