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POTSDAM, Germany: According to scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), climate change is going to cost the world economy US$38 trillion a year annually to 2050.

Based on empirical data from more than 1,600 regions worldwide over the past 40 years, the projected economic loss is six times higher than the mitigation costs needed to limit global warming to two degrees.

“Our analysis shows that climate change will cause massive economic damages within the next 25 years in almost all countries around the world [including] Germany, France and the United States,” says PIK scientist study lead Leonie Wenz. “These near-term damages are a result of our past emissions. We will need more adaptation efforts if we want to avoid at least some of them.”

Wenz notes without immediate drastic action, economic losses in the second half of the century will average 60 percent worldwide by 2100 with countries least responsible for, and least able to adapt to, climate change suffering income loss 60 percent greater than higher-income countries.

“This clearly shows that protecting our climate is much cheaper than not doing so, and that is without even considering non-economic impacts such as loss of life or biodiversity.”

Anders Levermann, head of Research Department Complexity Science and a co-author of the study adds:
“Staying on the path we are currently on, will lead to catastrophic consequences. The temperature of the planet can only be stabilized if we stop burning oil, gas and coal.”

The latest World Meteorological Organization (WMO) global climate report says last year was the warmest year on record, with the global average near-surface temperature at 1.45 °Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline.

On an average day in 2023, nearly one third of the global ocean was gripped by a marine heatwave, harming vital ecosystems and food systems. Towards the end of 2023, over 90 percent of the ocean had experienced heatwave conditions at some point during the year.

“Never have we been so close – albeit on a temporary basis at the moment – to the 1.5° C lower limit of the Paris Agreement on climate change,” comments Secretary-General Celeste Saulo. “The WMO community is sounding the Red Alert to the world.

“The climate crisis is THE defining challenge that humanity faces and is closely intertwined with the inequality crisis – as witnessed by growing food insecurity and population displacement, and biodiversity loss.”

DUBAI/BERLIN: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company CEO and COP28 president Sultan Al-Jaber says he will work with the presidents-designate of COP29 (Azerbaijan) and COP30 (Brazil) to ensure the tripling of investment in renewables agreed in Dubai last December.

Called a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), the 197 countries plus the EU who signed the 2015 Paris Agreement are required to update their NDCs every five years.

According to the UN, the plans must include how to reach a target, include systems that monitor and verify progress, and a financing strategy to pay for it.

A new report by think-tank Climate Analytics estimates the cost at US$8 trillion for new renewables and US$4 trillion for grid and storage infrastructure - US$2 trillion a year until 2030.

“US$2 trillion a year sounds like a cost, but it’s really a choice,” said the report’s lead author Neil Grant. “We’re set to invest over US$6 trillion in fossil fuels over this decade – more than enough to close the tripling investment gap. Faced with this choice, I’d go with the safest, best value option – renewables,” he added.

The report calculates how fast different regions need to act to meet their targets based on current capacities and future needs. Sub-Saharan Africa must scale by a factor of seven (double the global average); the OECD needs to triple its investments by 2030; and Asia must almost quadruple its renewable capacity by the end of the decade.

Commenting on the Al-Jaber announcement, UN Climate Change executive secretary Simon Stiell noted: "This is an opportunity to cement what was agreed at COP28, ensure that it is enabled by COP29 and the subsequent actions taken at COP30 with new ambitious NDCs - shifting finance from trickles to torrents and delivering 1.5°C aligned NDCs."
PASADENA, CA: A study published in Nature has found the Greenland Ice Sheet lost 20 percent more ice over the past four decades than previously thought.

The conclusion follows a 2023 study in Earth System Science suggesting ice losses from Antarctica and Greenland increased six-fold between the 1990s and 2010s with serious implications for global weather patterns, ocean circulation, ecosystems and food security.

The Nature authors analysed four decades of satellite data to discover Greenland has lost more than one trillion tons of ice along its margins since 1985 due to glacier retreat - a figure that doesn’t include surface melt on the ice sheet itself.

Greenland now releases 30 million tons of ice every hour, raising concerns the amount of freshwater pouring into the north Atlantic could trigger slowdown or collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a major system of ocean currents.

Subsequent research published in Science magazine this month concludes the AMOC is fast reaching a tipping point and its sudden collapse will dramatically change the redistribution of heat (and salt) resulting in a cooling of the Northern Hemisphere by over 3.0°C per decade.

“In comparison with the present-day global mean surface temperature trend due to climate change of about 0.2°C per decade, no realistic adaptation measures can deal with such rapid temperature changes under an AMOC collapse,” the authors warn.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes an AMOC slowdown or collapse due to melting freshwater from the North Pole, Greenland and Antarctica would “shift the rain belt in South Africa, causing droughts for millions of people. It would also cause sea level rise across the U.S. East Coast.”


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