THE hard financial costs of climate change have been calculated by North East experts.
The price of climate change-related losses from events such as storms and “small” disasters is running at around $125bn a year worldwide, they estimate.
And the bill for adaptation measures in the face of climate change is another $120bn.
The figures emerge from a new book by Northumbria University’s Phil O’Keefe, professor of environmental management and economic development, and Dr Geoff O’Brien, senior lecturer in environmental management and sustainable development.
“They are huge figures but the cost of doing nothing will be even greater, with the costs of repairing and recovering from climate damage,” said Dr O’Brien.
“In our world nothing, apparently, is really taken seriously until we know the costs. Climate change is no different. “
Reducing the risk of climate change has two different, but related, aspects.
“The first, mitigation, is about finding ways of reducing greenhouse gas production to prevent future catastrophe or, at least reduce the severity of impacts,” said Prof O’Keefe.
“The second, adaptation, is about protecting us from current adverse events and adjusting to changing realities. This is about building a new world or human adaptation to new climate conditions.“
Prof O’Keefe said that many renewable technologies are still in the development phase and there are serious questions about whether sufficient renewable infrastructure could be brought on stream in time for serious emissions cuts to be made.
The book, The Adaptation Continuum: Groundwork for the Future, also involving Paul Hassing and Ian Tellam, was launched during the Copenhagen climate summit.