Big Increase in Economic Costs if Emissions Cuts are Delayed


Stronger efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions should be undertaken to avoid global warming of more than 1.5˚C - without relying on potentially more expensive or risky technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere or reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface.

A comprehensive new analysis involving researchers from UEA warns that the target of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C could soon become too economically expensive to justify, despite the benefits it could provide.

Researchers from UEA, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Imperial College London assessed almost 200 published academic papers on climate change, including recent studies about the economics of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C.

They noted that economics analyses produce inconclusive results about the value of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C. The paper states: “Due to large uncertainties about the economic costs and, in particular, the benefits, there can be no clear answer to the question of whether the 1.5˚C target passes a cost-benefit test”.

Nonetheless, it draws attention to large benefits of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C instead of 2˚C: “There is evidence to suggest that limiting warming to 1.5˚C reduces the risk of crossing climate tipping points, such as melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, but the reduction in risk cannot presently be quantified.”

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