Global warming predicted to cost Australia billions

Sydney, australia
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Global warming could cost Australia’s economy hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming decades if workplaces cannot adapt to soaring temperatures. That’s according to a new report from its own government. Working conditions will become so difficult in the already scorching continent that officials predict a drop in output of Aus$135-423bn.

An ‘economic imperative’

The forecast assumes global temperatures will increase by three to four degrees Celsius by 2063. Measures such as tree planting and changing how buildings are designed would only help sweltering workers “to some degree”, the report said.

However, the estimate doesn’t include the cost to agriculture or tourism. Of course, fewer visitors could be expected to come due to natural disasters and the degradation of natural attractions.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers stated that:

Dealing with climate change is a global environmental and economic imperative.

He added that billions must be spent to meet the country’s net zero by 2050 target. This is needed to decarbonise heavy industries and build a clean energy economy. The minister also insisted the clean energy transition provided an opportunity to businesses and to a country replete with minerals needed to produce green energy technologies.

Commenting on the report, Kathryn Bowen – professor of environment, climate and global health at the University of Melbourne – said measures aimed at helping people adapt to climate change needed to “rapidly accelerate”.

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A vicious cycle

However, Australia is also one of the world’s largest producers of coal and gas. Coal is used to meet as much as 80% of the country’s energy requirements. As such, Australia is acting as a driving force of its own downfall.

As the Canary’s Hannah Sharland has been documenting, many poorer countries in the Global South are experiencing vicious cycles of fossil fuel extraction. Sharland explained that:

Without adequate funds from wealthy nations, the Global South is forced to turn to its fossil fuel reserves. The revenue from the exports of these reserves then finances the growing costs of climate impacts.

Now, Australia’s relentless pursuit of coal and gas is having a similar effect on this far-more-affluent nation. The profit made from fossil fuel extraction is an illusion. In reality, the costs of dealing with the dire consequences of climate disaster will always loom behind the easy money offered by extraction companies.

Additional reporting via Agence France-Presse

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Andrew Xu, resized to 1910*1000, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

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