Global Warming to Cost $4 Trillion

Global Warming  to Cost $4 TrillionGlobal Warming  to Cost $4 Trillion

Private investors risk losing more than $4 trillion in assets due to the devastating effects of global warming.

Rising sea levels, intense flooding and more severe storms threaten to wipe out or diminish portfolios due to property damage, weaker growth and lower asset returns, the Economist Intelligence Unit said in a report Friday, according to the International Business Times.

The number could swell to nearly $14 trillion if the Earth’s temperatures warm by a staggering 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to the pre-industrial era.

From the public-sector perspective, extreme warming represents value losses of $43 trillion, or 30% of the entire stock of the world’s manageable assets, the report said.

“Institutional investors need to assess their climate-related risks and take steps to mitigate them; very few have begun to do this,” the report said.

Climate scientists say the world is on track to warm by at least 2 degrees Celsius (3.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2050 if countries do not take dramatic steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, tailpipes and buildings. Even lesser degrees of warming will have dire consequences for the world’s food supplies, coastal communities and human health.

The report arrives as leaders from nearly 200 nations are preparing for high-stakes climate change talks in Paris this December. Governments have agreed to forge a pact to slash their greenhouse gas emissions and help poorer nations adapt to climate impacts. But the emissions targets announced by countries so far suggest the treaty will not be strong enough to make a meaningful dent in climate emissions.

If firm action is not taken at the forthcoming climate change talks in Paris and the Earth’s temperature warms by a further 5C, investors will face losses of almost $7 trillion at today’s prices, new research shows.

The report argued that financial regulators should properly recognize “systematic environmental risk”. It also called for a proper carbon price to be established as well as a tough new climate change treaty to be agreed in Paris.

“Investors currently face a stark choice,” said the report’s editor, Brian Gardner, said in a statement.

Investors in fossil-fuel companies may see the value of their holdings decline if governments adopt strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions. But absent such regulations, investors could face “substantial losses across the entire portfolio of manageable assets” if little is done to limit global warming, Gardner said.

“Charting a path away from these two options should be a strong motivation for long-term investors to engage with companies in their portfolios and to shift investments toward a profitable, low-carbon future,” he said.