Commonwealth countries may face 63% hit to GDP due to climate change, says report

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A study published by international development charity Christian Aid highlights the devastating economic impact climate change will inflict on Commonwealth countries.

The study, titled The climate cost to the Commonwealth, was led by Marina Andrijevic, an economist at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna.

By 2050 and 2100 the economies of these countries are still expected to be higher than they are today. This study highlights the amount of damage caused to their GDP by climate change, compared to a scenario where climate change didn’t take place.

Estimates based on peer-reviewed methodology by Burke et al show that on current climate policies, where global temperature rise reaches around 2.7C by the end of the century, Commonwealth countries can expect to suffer an average GDP hit of -19% by 2050 and of -63% by 2100.

According to the research, even if countries keep global temperature rise to 1.5C as set out in the Paris Agreement, Commonwealth nations face a mean GDP reduction of -13% by 2050 and -32% by 2100.

In her foreword to the report, Vanessa Nakate, Ugandan climate activist, stated: “The Commonwealth, as a group of nations, captures the severe inequality of climate change.

“Within its ranks are some of the world’s biggest polluters per capita – Australia with its coal industry, Canada with its tar sands. The average citizen of those countries is responsible for as much carbon as 100 people from my country, Uganda.

“Nowhere should the case for action to drastically cut emissions and increase financial support be more clear than among this group of nations. The leaders of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK like to speak warm words about their Commonwealth ‘family’, but so far their action to address the climate crisis has fallen tragically short.

“It need not be this way. The Commonwealth is a group of countries that can demonstrate what true climate cooperation can look like. As it enters a new era under the leadership of King Charles, its existence is questioned by more and more people as it seeks to find its purpose and relevance in a modern world.

“Climate action, something that is dear to the heart of King Charles, is the perfect issue where the Commonwealth can lead the world and be a model for others to follow.”

The Climate cost to the Commonwealth-report can be downloaded on the Christian Aid website.