The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has found that climate change and outdoor air pollution are two of the most challenging environmental issues that modern society faces and could potentially damage global GDP by as much as 3% by 2060.
The Economic interactions between climate change and outdoor air pollution paper presents the first global analysis of the joint economic consequences of climate change and outdoor air pollution, in the absence of new policies to address these challenges.
‘For both environmental issues, the majority of damages affect relatively fragile economies in Asia and Africa, with damages in many regions exceeding 3% of GDP and in some 5%. The largest percentage losses are observed in agriculture, where both climate change and air pollution have significant adverse effects’ the OECD paper says.
The OECD paper authors found that over the next few decades there will be an increase in costs associated with air pollution ‘initially air pollution will dominate,’ however, the OECD paper only gives a partial account of the economic consequences of the two environmental issues, as the paper doesn’t account for the economic effects of premature deaths or extreme climate events.
A recent Imperial College London study suggests that in the US up to 30,000 deaths a year can be attributed to poor air quality leading to an increase in mortality rates and life expectancy. The evidence in the Imperial College study, combining data from the National Centre for Health Statistics, is further proof that tougher regulations are needed to safeguard against the economic impact air pollution can have on a country’s economy.
Reports like the OECD will help regulators focus on innovative sustainable initiatives and technology and close legislative loopholes, like the UK Governments subsidy on red diesel for non-road mobile machinery and other similar inhibitor’s to early adoption and investment in green technology like Dearman’s zero emissions liquid nitrogen fueled transport refrigeration system.