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Faltered Future

Imagine a situation where the air around you is so saturated that it can’t hold the sweat from your body resulting in excessive heat, leading to heatstroke. Scary, isn't it? Climate change is not just a hashtag, it is around you, me, very prevalent and happening every second, even as you read this.

Whilst the heated debate of climate change policies and the urgency of immediate action goes on, we fall short of the mark in paying heed to the cost associated with massive changes climate change policies will engender. With climate change adversely affecting agriculture, mortality and energy use, it will unavoidably impact the world economy. It is predicted that climate change will wipe off 10% of its economic value due to the physical (excessive heat, water access etc.) risks, and transitional risks associated with it. Asian economies are expected to be amongst the worst affected due to their lack of resources to adapt to the rising temperatures.

Again, what is the cost of climate change? It differs according to the degree of temperature change. Quoting the statistics of 2°C of warming by 2080–2099, the United States would suffer annual losses equivalent to about 0.5 per cent of its GDP. These figures are uncertain due to the unprecedented nature of climate change daunting upon us. However, it is evident that the costs will get compounded as the temperature increases. We will have an upward sloping curve representing the temperature increase vs damage to GDP %.

If we were to look at the cost of policies, economics literature unveils a few details. Most notable are policies to induce additional renewable generation and to help decarbonize transportation. In fact, the most expensive are subsidies for electric vehicles: the reason being that in many places, such vehicles are charged using electricity produced from fossil fuel sources, which reduces potential emission savings.

However, the pricing of carbon emissions is by no means an easy or straightforward undertaking. These approaches are exhausting, expensive and difficult to execute.

What role can you play? Your contribution? After looking up several sources and analysing them, it narrows down to change that begins from home. As cliché as it gets, the reduction of your carbon footprint and responsible use of energy resources can create an impact like no other. Furthermore, in search of a silver lining education, the cost of the global risk the entire world is about to face will take you miles.

Disha Gupta

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