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US carbon emissions lay waste to poorer countries – study

The US’ greenhouse gas emissions have allegedly caused over $1.9 trillion in damages to other countries since 1990

A new analysis by Dartmouth College researchers found that the US has caused almost $2 trillion in damage to other nations between 1990-2014, owing to its huge carbon footprint. It was reported in Climatic Change (published Tuesday) 

According to the report, US greenhouse gas emissions over the past 24 years have caused heatwaves and crop failures as well as other economic problems for countries around the world, which has resulted in $1.9 trillion of lost income worldwide. 

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The top five leading carbon emitters, including China, Russia, India, and Brazil (in addition to the US), have in total caused economic losses of $6 trillion since 1990, the researchers claimed – a figure representing about 14% of global GDP. 

It’s a huge number,” lead study author Chris Callahan pointed out, adding that while it was “It’s not surprising that China and the USA are on the top of this list.,” the figures the research unearthed “These are quite stark. For the first time, we can show that a country’s emissions can be traced to specific harm.

Researchers found that the top 10 biggest emitters are responsible for more than 67% economic loss related to climate change and receive 70% of financial benefits. The US is the only country that caused 16.5% of these losses, and the US alone accounted for 18%. This pattern is replicated throughout high-emission countries, which the analysis found are doing the lion’s share of damage while experiencing little to none of the resulting economic suffering. 

Researchers found that the northerly nations are seeing tangible results from climate change. They have longer growing seasons, and less cold-related deaths. Research did not include non-GDP-related effects, such as natural disasters and loss of biodiversity, which suggests that there is more likely to be a disproportionate impact on poorer, warmer countries.

Callahan and his colleagues arrived at their conclusions by combining historical climate data with climate models and economic information, then calculated resulting damages “Use empirical temperature growth relationships.” Another method of calculation that takes into account the emissions created by international trade places the US even more starkly in the lead regarding climate-induced damages, responsible for 18%. While damages to Russia and China are down by 15%, 9% and 5%, those caused by certain European countries rise by as high as 20%. 

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The researchers noted that their work could provide a basis for poorer countries to sue for climate-related harms, pointing out that previous efforts have been hamstrung by a lack of scientific evidence linking individual carbon emitters to “The downstream effects of global warming.” With the kind of evidence presented in their report, they argued, those countries may be able to take legal action. These methods of blaming climate damages can also be applied individually to corporations, according to the researchers.

Such conclusions are sure to be controversial, with US climate chief John Kerry already engaged in damage control in the hope of avoiding “Some legal avenues are now open to you in relation to [climate-related]Haftung.” While he insisted on following the COP26 climate conference that backed the idea of compensating poorer countries for losses and damages, he has shied away from the “Liability,” presumably trying to avoid having the US entangled in any potential climate lawsuits filed by the poorer countries it has allegedly victimized.

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