An intensifying climate crisis threatens more than half of the world’s GDP, research says
20 January 2020 | Adaptation
Over half of the world’s GDP (gross domestic product) is exposed to risks from nature loss, according to a new report.
It comes following a 12-month period which reportedly saw the hottest year on record for the world’s oceans, the second-hottest year for global average temperatures and wildfires from the U.S., to the Amazon, to Australia.
The report, which was produced by WEF, found that $44 trillion of economic value generation — more than half of the world’s GDP — is “moderately or highly dependent on nature and its services and is therefore exposed to nature loss.”
Policymakers and business leaders from around the world are due to arrive in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Monday.
The annual January get-together is scheduled to focus on the intensifying climate crisis.
Construction ($4 trillion), agriculture ($2.5 trillion) and food and beverages ($1.4 trillion) were found to be the three largest industries most dependent on nature.
Combined, their value is roughly twice the size of the German economy, the report estimated. These industries were said to rely either on the direct extraction of resources from forests and oceans or the provision of ecosystem services such as healthy soils, clean water, pollination and a stable climate.
It means that as nature loses its capacity to provide such services, these industries could be “significantly disrupted.”
Industries seen as “highly dependent” on nature generate 15% of global GDP ($13 trillion), while “moderately dependent” industries generate 37% ($31 trillion).
“We need to reset the relationship between humans and nature,” Dominic Waughray, managing director at WEF, said in the report.
“Damage to nature from economic activity can no longer be considered an ‘externality.’ This report shows how exposure to nature loss is both material to all business sectors and is an urgent and non-linear risk to our collective future economic security.”