Excessive greenhouse gas emissions from the United States have caused nearly $2 trillion in damage to other countries, according to a new analysis.
A Dartmouth College study assessed the impact of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States since 1990. It found that they have contributed to heat waves, crop failures and more natural disasters in many parts of the world. other countries, most of them poorer. That’s over $1.9 trillion in lost global revenue.
“The numbers are really quite striking,” said Chris Callahan, lead author of the new study. the Guardian. “For the first time, we can show that a country’s emissions can be attributed to a specific harm.”
Together, China, the United States, India, Russia, and Brazil caused approximately $6 trillion in losses worldwide.
The study follows a 2021 report that found the United States to be the biggest carbon emitter in history. And that along with China, it is most historically responsible for the climate crisis, thanks to the production of fossil fuels, land use change, deforestation and cement. (Russia, Brazil, the UK and Canada were also in the top 10.)
These results confirm previous conclusions: the poorest countries suffer disproportionately from a climate crisis that they did not create. And it’s not just economical. The World Health Organization for Africa projects that the climate crisis will contribute to 250,000 additional deaths per year.
Dartmouth study co-author Justin Mankin said: “In already hot places it is increasingly difficult to work outdoors, heat mortality increases, it is more difficult to grow crops.”
The role of the meat industry
Earlier this year, another study pointed the finger at rich countries. This time, on meat consumption.
Researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany have noted that rich countries must reduce their meat consumption by at least 75%, as they put unnecessary pressure on the planet due to excessive demand for origin products. animal.
Not only is the meat industry incredibly resource-intensive (a single steak requires the equivalent of 40 tubs of water), but it also emits 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases and drives deforestation and habitat destruction.
Dr Matin Qaim, who led the study, said at the time: “If all humans consumed as much meat as Europeans or North Americans, we would certainly miss international climate targets and many ecosystems would fail. would collapse”.
In the Dartmouth study, the researchers pointed out that while many poor countries are suffering, some rich northern countries are benefiting from climate change. (Canada, for example, has fewer cold-related deaths in winter.)
“There is this huge inequity,” Mankin continued.
“Countries like the United States have disproportionately harmed low-income countries in the south and disproportionately benefited cooler, higher-income countries in the north.”
Activists are pushing rich countries to take responsibility and provide financial compensation to countries suffering the most from the climate crisis.