And that's if we're lucky. A study commissioned by 20-governments finds that, unless our leaders reverse course on climate change, it will claim the lives of 100-million people by 2030.
And, for those like our own miscreant government, that argue it would be economically unwarranted to move quickly to decarbonize our economy and our society, the report finds that, in addition to those 100-million dead, the world economy will take a 3.2 per cent hit in GDP as well.
As David Suzuki was reported to have quipped in Toronto recently, you simply can't have a healthy economy without a healthy biosphere. It can't be done.
The report seems to embody the deficiencies that tend to prevail in these discussions. Foremost of these is that it addresses global warming in isolation and doesn't factor in the gamut of associated and building threats and challenges including deforestation; desertification; air/soil/water contamination, especially across Asia; resource depletion and exhaustion, particularly the rapidly building freshwater crisis; overpopulation and population migration; disease and pest migration; species migration and extinction, particularly the collapse of global fisheries; sea level rise and salination of coastal freshwater resources; severe storm events of increasing frequency and intensity; both cyclical and sustained floods and droughts often on a regional scale; and a host of resultant security threats including food insecurity, terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation and the intensifying arms races, notably in South and East Asia, two regions in the crosshairs of climate change.
Where the study is almost certainly correct is in the assertion that not acting effectively to propel ourselves into a low-carbon economy will be vastly more costly than action. In other words, the path that Harper has set Canada upon is socially and economically perilous in the mid-range and devastating in the long-range.
Responding to the report, Oxfam International said the costs of political inaction on climate were “staggering.”
“The losses to agriculture and fisheries alone could amount to more
than $500 billion per year by 2030, heavily focussed in the poorest
countries where millions depend on these sectors to make a living,” said
executive director Jeremy Hobbs.
British economist Nicholas Stern told Reuters earlier this year
investment equivalent to 2 per cent of global GDP was needed to limit,
prevent and adapt to climate change.
His report on the economics of climate change in 2006 said that
without any action to tackle climate change, the overall costs and risks
of climate change would be equivalent to a cut in per-capita
consumption of perhaps up to 20 per cent.
What also tends to go unsaid is the deteriorating security situation resulting from global warming sparking the likelihood of regional wars and perhaps even world war and the inevitable drag on GDP that will result from rearmament.