By Jocelyn Timperley
Holding global temperature rise to 1.5C would lead to significant economic benefits by the end of the century, a new paper suggests.
The paper uses a new approach to project how different temperature rises could affect global gross domestic product (GDP).
It finds that per capita GDP would be 5% higher by 2100 if temperatures are stabilised at 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures rather than 2C.
The negative economic impacts are expected to fall disproportionately on the world’s poorest countries, the lead author tells Carbon Brief, with the disparity larger at 2C than for 1.5C.
Amir Jina, an assistant professor in public policy at the University of Chicago, who was not involved in the study, says its findings generally agree with his recent research. This found substantial uncertainty, damages that are unequally distributed and non-linear increases in economic damages as temperatures rise.
However, he emphasises that the headline 5% difference between 1.5C and 2C should be stated cautiously, since it is not statistically significant and there is substantial overlap. He tells Carbon Brief:
“We could state the result in a different way – that we think that if there are damages evident at even 1.5C, we should be taking that into consideration with urgency and exploring our mitigation options.
“Put yet another way, we could say that the lack of a significant difference between 1.5C and 2C shows why we should be interested in this type of paper – it tries to quantify these targets that have been set as convenient goals rather than rigorous scientific benchmarks.
“In that context, saying that 2C warming is worse than 1.5C warming, in the median, is not too surprising. Quantifying both of these is useful for policy, however.”
Continue reading at Carbon Brief…