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ZURICH: A report from reinsurer Swiss Re says global GDP will drop 18 percent or US$16.8 trillion by 2050 with a 3.2°C rise in temperature above pre-industrial levels.

In a study of how climate change would impact 48 countries with no additional mitigation, Swiss Re estimates India would lose 35 percent of GDP at that level, China 24 percent, the US, Canada and the UK around 10 percent each and Europe 11 percent.

Regionally, ASEAN countries would see their collective GDP fall 37.4 percent, the Middle East and Africa 27.6 percent and South America 17.0 percent by 2050.

In a ranking of countries’ resilience to the impacts of climate change, it concludes the most negatively affected would be those with the least ability to adapt: Malaysia, Thailand, India, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Noting Indonesia is the most vulnerable country to a warming planet, Swiss Re says it is exposed to the full gamut of physical risks, including sea level rise, due to its low level of adaptive capacity.

This week, the Indonesian NGO Responsibank filed a formal complaint against Dutch bank ING for providing US$592 million to build a new coal-fired power station in Indonesia, despite civil society opposition prompted by reported environmental damage, human rights violations and corruption.

By contrast, Swiss Re says achieving the Paris Agreement target of less than +2°C warming would prevent a 10 percent mid-century global GDP loss and many emerging markets would benefit most - including Indonesia, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

“Our analysis shows the benefit of investing in a net-zero economy,” declared Jérôme Haegeli, Swiss Re’s Group chief economist. “For example, adding just 10 percent to the US$6.3 trillion of annual global infrastructure investments would limit the average temperature increase to below 2°C. This is just a fraction of the loss in global GDP that we face if we don’t take appropriate action.

“Climate change is a systemic risk and can only be addressed globally. So far, too little is being done. Global cooperation to facilitate financial flows to vulnerable economies is essential. We have an opportunity to correct the course now and construct a world that will be greener, more sustainable and more resilient,” he continued.
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