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Global economic recovery will be further complicated by the climate crisis

Global economic recovery will be further complicated by the climate crisis

Climate crisis to further complicate global economic recovery

Screenshot taken from the World Meteorological Organization’s official website.

Screenshot taken from the World Meteorological Organization’s official website.

Editor’s note: Stephen Ndegwa is an expert in communication based in Nairobi, a lecturer-scholar from the United States International University Africa and an author. He is also a columnist for international affairs. The author’s views are those of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.

The State of the Global Climate 2021 Report released by the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on May 18 reads like a doomsday scenario. It shows a grim picture of the world’s environmental conditions, including sea level rise, ocean acidification, temperature, ocean heat and ocean acidification.

The world economy is in dire straits. On account of recent global events, the International Monetary Fund projects that global growth will slow from an estimated 6.1 percent in 2021 to 3.6 percent in 2022 and 2023, which is a downgrade of 0.8 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively, from January projections.

The decline can be attributed to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, but the key factors are the same and the negative effects of climate. There is little relief from the negative effects of climate change on sustainable development and food security, displacement, and ecosystems. It is not the news one wants to hear, especially when the global economy is still recovering from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Climate change is increasing food insecurity. This phenomenon adversely impacts rural livelihoods and incomes due floods and prolonged dry spells. A food shortage is a major blow to economic activities because it reduces the ability of people to engage in income-generating activities. An increase in the incidence of diseases and the ripple effect that unhealthy people have on the health sector also has a negative impact on the sector.

Destroying marine and coastal ecosystems can also make them unproductive, which in turn hinders economic activities in these regions. Pollution decimates marine life like fish while receding coastlines drives tourists away, negatively affecting governments’ revenue collection. People living in poverty are also affected by the loss of their livelihoods.

As countries recover from the pandemic, climate changes are causing large displacements as people seek more productive and habitable environments. These disruptions result in a loss of man hours and a loss of revenue at the household and national level. Many people are now forced to pay for resettlement costs, which can cost them a lot of money that could have been invested in economic activities.

Climate change is a double danger to sustainable development. It takes away the natural resources necessary for Earth’s renewal and makes it more difficult to produce raw materials. WMO warns that heat trapped by human-induced global warming gases will warm the planet for many years to come. This will cause disruption in supply chains and increase inflation due to rising prices of goods.

A woman walks by a New York store on May 11, 2022. /Xinhua

A woman walks by a New York store on May 11, 2022. /Xinhua

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Experts warn that climate changes could have an enormous impact on the global economy. They could wipe out up to 18% of the global GDP by 2050 if temperatures rise 3.2 degrees Celsius. Climate change could also cause the world economy to lose 10 percent of its economic value in the same timeframe. According to the WMO, 2 billion people have suffered from extreme weather events. This is, among other reasons, due to the adverse effects of climate change upon natural resources like water and air.  

There are unlikely sources and outcomes for the transition away from fossil fuels in some large economies. As part of the Western world’s sanctions against Russia for its conflict with Ukraine, Europe has expressed an urgent desire to make the green transition as a way of avoiding reliance on the former’s fuel. On Wednesday, for example, the European Commission presented a 300 billion-euro strategy to allow the European Union to get rid of Russia’s fossil fuels by 2030.

This is similar to how universal digitization was adopted quickly after COVID-19 was declared pandemic by World Health Organization in January 2020. The world was forced into expanding digital possibilities beyond what was possible or even practical. The concept of interconnectedness is now a common phenomenon in almost all countries. It has significantly broken down the barriers between time, distance, and space.

It has never been more urgent to reduce carbon emissions. It is imperative to accelerate the global green transition by drastically reducing the use of fossil fuels, and other polluting energy sources. There are many clean energy technologies that can be used to replace the polluting fuels in medium term.

We live in a global village. The effects of what happens in one place can be felt all around the world. All governments must show political will to implement policies that reverse global warming across all socioeconomic levels. This is possible in the same manner that the world rallied to fight the COVID-19 epidemic.

(If you have expertise or want to contribute, please email opinions@cgtn.com. Follow @thouse_opinions Twitter: Follow us to find the latest comments in the CGTN Op Section.

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