With the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris days away, a new study suggests that, left unchecked, climate change will shrink the global economy by 23 percent. Ben Gruber reports.
STORY: When the world heats up, economies around the globe will cool down. That's according to a new study which predicts that rising temperatures due to climate change will wreak havoc on economic output. SOUNDBITE (English) SOLOMON HSIANG, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC POLICY, UC BERKELEY, SAYING: "Our best estimate is that the global economy as a whole will be 23 percent smaller in 2100 than if we would avoid climate change entirely." The study looked at the relationship between temperature and economic activity in 166 countries over a 50 year period. SOUNDBITE (English) SOLOMON HSIANG, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC POLICY, UC BERKELEY, SAYING: "There is sort of an optimal temperature band where countries seem to do really well from an economic standpoint and there is on either side there are temperatures that are too cold and temperatures that are too hot." The magic number is 13 degrees Celsius or 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which is roughly the average temperature of the largest economies right now. But in 100 hundred years, if climate change goes unchecked, that could change dramatically. The study is sure to interest world leaders at the upcoming U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris. SOUNDBITE (English) SOLOMON HSIANG, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC POLICY, UC BERKELEY, SAYING: "The guys that are at the top of the hill right now, places like the United States and China, they are going to start falling down the hill and performing poorly." And those countries already past the optimal temperature zone, such as Brazil and most of Africa, will be even worse off than they are now. The study focused exclusively on the impact of temperature change. Other factors linked to climate change, such as the frequency and distribution of extreme weather events and sea level rise, aren't accounted for. Which means that the 23 percent drop in the global economy by 2100…. could be just a starting figure.