Climate action could increase GDP of low-income countries by 2050

New research reveals that ambitious efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions could boost the GDP growth of poorer countries over the next 30 years.

Published in the journal Climatic Change, the study shows that global efforts to mitigate climate change would not only reduce extreme weather in the long term, but it would also lower oil prices in the coming decades, which in turn would result in an economic boom for many poorer countries.

“It is abundantly clear that many low-income countries will bear the brunt of climate change impacts over the long term and that successful efforts to rein in emissions will lessen this blow,” said lead author Channing Arndt from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

“Our research now provides another rationale for robust climate action: the economic benefits of mitigation arrive much sooner than previously thought.”

The researchers focused specifically on Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, the latter two of which have recently been hit hard by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth. They found that successful mitigation policies would cause oil prices to drop due to a reduction in oil demand.

As the vast majority of all low-income countries are net oil importers, such price drop could lead to an increase of between 2 and 6 percentage points in the average GDP of the three countries by 2050, gains that, according to the researchers, cannot occur if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated.

“The impact of climate change is not likely to be distributed equally across the planet, and neither are any costs associated with reducing emissions,” said Arndt.

“We want to limit the deleterious effects of climate change on the environment and on people, particularly poor people, while avoiding harming development prospects in the process. The gains from effective mitigation shown by this research could help us achieve this goal.”

Image credit: Jean van der Meulen via Pixabay

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