How the Climate Crisis Threatens the Economy?


Our Earth has existed for about 5 billion years and has been home to humans and other living creatures for thousands of years with its resources. However, these resources are limited and unfortunately, we humans spend the resources that our world offers us irresponsibly and destroy our own living space with our own hands. One of the negative consequences of this behavior is climate change. Its impact is increasing day by day. As these effects increase, climate change becomes a reality that cannot be ignored and is a matter of global concern.

The atmosphere surrounding our planet works like a greenhouse. The atmosphere retains the heat inside thanks to greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, ozone gas, and methane. This greenhouse effect we are talking about is formed by gases such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, ozone, etc. in our atmosphere. This is called the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect regulates the temperature of the earth and creates the temperature required for the continuation of life. According to scientific research, if there was no greenhouse effect, the average temperature of our world would be at a level that would not allow living life. This temperature is approximate -18°C.

The climate crisis, which we call global warming and which is getting stronger day by day, is caused by the increase in the proportion of gases that make up the greenhouse effect in our atmosphere. Especially the increasing amount of carbon dioxide is a major factor. The uncontrolled increase in the temperature of our planet damages the resources of our world and the life on it, just like the destruction of crops in a greenhouse with an uncontrolled increase in temperature.

This is a consequence of the high levels of carbon dioxide emissions that began with the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century. In parallel with rapidly increasing industrialization, fossil fuel use and social welfare also increased. At the same time, the human population began to rise uncontrollably. As a result, natural resources have been consumed rapidly and irresponsibly. According to research, carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere reached an increase of 43% in 2020. Along with fossil fuels, another important cause is deforestation. 

While dozens of forest fires we experienced last summer in the world are still vivid in our memory, a new forest resource is disappearing every day. We need to start working to regenerate our lost forests as soon as possible. Forests are the most important tool humanity has against the climate crisis. The decline of forests around the world causes the climate crisis to intensify and the concentration of gases in our atmosphere to change.

What consumption items cause climate change?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 60% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions are caused by fossil fuels and 22% by deforestation.

Among fossil fuels, the most widely used fuel type is coal, which also has an important place in our country. Worldwide, 27% of the energy needed is provided by coal. Likewise, coal is also responsible for 43% of the CO2 gas emitted into the atmosphere. Especially with the energy crisis and increasing energy costs in recent years, coal consumption has started to increase again.

What kind of developments is taking place in the world in this regard?

The most effective international action to combat climate change is the Paris Climate Agreement. This is an international agreement in which 197 countries have acted jointly. The main objective of this agreement, which is the clearest tool in the fight against the climate crisis, is to limit the average global temperature increase to 2°C. The agreement also commits to strive to limit this increase to 1.5°C.

The global commitment of countries is not enough. If all countries keep their individual targets at the same rates, the global temperature increase will reach 4°C according to research. In order to prevent the climate crisis, we need to keep this temperature increase at a maximum of 2°C.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Each country must accept its share and blame in this crisis. According to studies, China, the US, the EU and India are responsible for 50% of global CO2 emissions. Our country is one of the 20 countries with the highest emissions in the world. Especially China, which has joined the global industrialization race in recent years, is not interested in reducing emissions. Concern for economic growth overrides environmental measures.

What is the scale of the economic destruction caused by the inevitable climate crisis?

According to a study conducted by Oxfam, a UK-based international aid organization, if greenhouse gases are not reduced sufficiently and the climate crisis is not prevented, the global economic contraction will be twice the economic depression caused by the Covid-19 crisis. Research has shown that environmental disasters caused by the global increase in temperature have severely damaged the global economy. With the rise in temperature, global growth is expected to decline from 3.6% to 2.5%. The main reason for this economic downsizing is the expected global water scarcity, decline in agricultural products, emerging bacteria and new types of diseases.

A crisis in water, which is the basis of life, will have serious consequences for both human life and the economy. The fact that only 2% of the world's water resources are potable makes the effects of global warming more dangerous. An increase in global temperature will create significant water stress and drought worldwide. This issue is a vital problem for our country where potable water is limited. According to researches, our country is one of the countries that will experience the most water problems worldwide in the coming years.

In addition, agricultural production is expected to decrease significantly with the increase in temperature. Agricultural production is expected to come to a standstill, especially in regions such as the southern region of Africa, where the heat increase has a strong impact. The increase in temperature affects the national economy of the countries in those regions in the first place, and then the global economy on a macro scale. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) report, if the global temperature increase is 1.5°C by 2100, the expected average crop decline will be 5% globally; if the global temperature increase is 2°C, the expected average crop decline will be 11% globally. This would cause significant economic losses. The impact on the fisheries sector, another important source of food and economic income, is another important consequence of the climate crisis. Increasing global temperature increases the temperature level of the oceans and reduces fish yields. These problems could affect nearly 1 billion people in agriculture and fisheries worldwide.

In addition to the effects on agriculture and fisheries, another important sector affected by the global temperature increase is the tourism sector. Especially the regions with island economies are threatened by the rising amount of water. In addition, the decreasing amount of precipitation with global warming is a situation that negatively affects winter tourism. In addition, increasing epidemics affect global mobility and stop tourism activities.

In addition, global heat increase causes significant climate changes. This causes extreme temperature increases in some regions. This situation creates unsuitable conditions for human life in some cities. According to studies, if the rate of temperature increase continues at this rate, by 2050, about 80% of the Maldives will become uninhabitable. The best examples of this are the cities of Jacobabad in Pakistan's Sindh province and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, where unfavorable conditions for human life were created in the summer of 2021. The increasing temperature in these cities has reached a level that threatens human life. Temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius during the year in these cities have reached dimensions that threaten human life. Analyses show that if this situation continues, approximately 2 million people will migrate from these cities. In other words, the increasing temperature makes some regions unsuitable for human life. This situation will cause mass migration and create serious economic losses. The migration waves that will be experienced will cause intense stress in countries and big cities where migration is experienced, a significantly increasing employment problem, and significant negative consequences in the field of security and public order. These migration waves, with their possible consequences, will create serious economic burdens for the countries experiencing migration waves. Migration is a long-term problem that has both social and economic consequences today and in the future. Necessary measures should already be planned for the migration waves to be experienced due to the climate crisis and necessary solutions should be considered against possible scenarios.

What are the possible solutions?

The protection of our country and the world from the inevitable impact of the expected global temperature increase depends on structural changes and radical decisions. Measures to be taken in this context;

  • Tend towards renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.)
  • Fossil fuel consumption should be reduced, (coal, oil, natural gas, etc.)
  • Increase the amount of forest,
  • Measures should be developed to use energy efficiently,
  • General measures should be taken to reduce carbon emissions.

These measures against the climate crisis will have a positive impact on national income for countries. The European economy meets its energy needs from external sources. In other words, it is dependent on foreign sources for energy. Renewable energy sources will be an important solution for countries that provide all of their basic energy needs such as oil, coal and natural gas from abroad. Converting unlimited and continuous resources such as the sun and wind into energy is an alternative that will contribute positively to the national economy and reduce our dependence on foreign energy.

The carbon neutrality targets of China in 2060, the USA in 2050 and the European Union in 2030, and the zero emission targets of Japan, South Korea, South Africa and Canada are not realistic targets in today's global economy race, but they are targets that must be realized for our world. The global climate crisis will cause significant damage to both human life and the global economy.

The figures clearly show the impact of the climate crisis on the global economy. If the global temperature increase continues at this rate, the expected economic shrinkage worldwide will be at least double the 4.2% shrinkage caused by the Covid19 pandemic. This global shrinkage is expected to reach 18%. Our country is expected to be affected by this global shrinkage by at least 10%.

The climate crisis is an issue that urgently needs to be addressed for our survival and economic sustainability.


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