The vast majority of 738 international economists on climate agree that immediate and drastic action is necessary to prevent the deadly costs of global warming if the current warming trend continues, a New York University School of Law survey revealed on Tuesday.
The survey, Gauging Economic Consensus on Climate Change, projects that the costs of global warming could reach $1.7 trillion per year by 2025 and roughly $30 trillion per year, or 5% of the projected GDP by 2075.
The share of survey respondents who believe that drastic action is needed significantly increased compared to a 2015 survey.
The economists estimate the economic damage of global warming will rise precipitously as warming intensifies, topping $140 trillion annually at a 5°C increase and $730 trillion at a 7°C increase.
The respondents overwhelmingly agree that the benefits of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 would likely outweigh the economic costs of global warming. Around 66% of respondents view this as likely or very likely compared to only 12% who disagree.
The economists predict the rapid expansion of clean energy technologies with estimations that more than 50% of the global energy mix will consist of zero-emission technologies by 2050, relative to the current share of roughly 10%.
Approximately 65% of respondents expect the costs of zero-emission and negative-emissions technologies will fall as was seen in the costs of solar and wind technologies in recent years.
About 74% of the respondents say that immediate and drastic action is needed when asked about their professional opinions on climate change while less than 1% believe that climate change is "not a serious problem".
Nearly 80% of respondents also self-report an increase in their level of concern about climate change over the past five years, underscoring the high level of overall concern among this group.
The study shows that this broad majority suggests that even respondents who have characterized the situation as urgent in the past may feel that the nature of the climate change challenge is rapidly escalating.
According to the economists, the items that most affected their views on climate change in recent years are that extreme weather events attributing to climate change followed by new research findings in climate science and climate economics.
About 76% of economists participating in the survey think that it is likely or very likely that climate change will negatively affect global economic growth rates, while 89% believe that climate change will exacerbate income inequality between high-income and low-income countries.
According to the survey, "this could create enormous difficulties for many countries that already face profound economic challenges and high rates of poverty."
By Nuran Erkul Kaya