Energy

Climate Change Will Devastate The Global Economy

On September 27, 2016 a devastating typhoon caused Taiwanese highways, schools, and stock and foreign exchange markets to close. Taiwanese news agency Focus Taiwan, has explained that the Typhoon’s wind speeds reached up to 191 kph. This storm exemplifies the terrible consequences of climate change. In fact, climate change has caused tropical cyclones to increase in intensity for over the last 40 years. However, increasing world temperature not only affects weather patterns, it also affects the global economy.

The main problem that climate change creates in the world economy is the loss of resources. Due to climate change, sea levels are rising and the amount of flood, droughts, and wildfires are increasing. Wildfires have steadily increased in frequency and duration since the 1980s. Sea levels are rising at higher rates, 1.2 inches per decade. Rainfalls are much more intense than they were 50 years ago. And droughts have increased in length and extremity since the 1970s.

As storms, wildfires, floods, and droughts increase, highways, schools, and financial markets will be shut down more often and infrastructure will be damaged. This will result in the loss of time and productivity. Investment in certain areas will also decrease due to the perceived risk in areas that are severely impacted by climate change. This loss in investor confidence could even lead to more problems in the economy, such as more economic shocks.

But is it all really doom and gloom? Is there a way to reverse the deleterious effects of climate change? Well, unfortunately, no. There isn’t a way to reverse the effects of climate change. However, we can stop it from getting even worse by making greater efforts to lower our use of oil and other materials that hurt the environment. Companies could also participate in agreements to lower pollution, such as cap and trade and other market based approaches to improving the environment.

Image Source: The Daily Conversation

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Oil Prices and the Global Economy

The European Central Bank provided some interesting information about today’s oil prices and the global economy. The report basically explains that low oil prices may not be positively effecting the global economy because oil prices have been driven lower due to a decrease in demand rather than a decrease in supply.

During the beginning of 2015, oil prices were decreasing due to decreases in supply. It was predicted that a supply driven decrease in oil prices would positively effect the global economy. However, in late 2015 oil prices fell due to decreased demand. Simulations have suggested that demand driven decreases in oil prices negatively effect the global economy. For example, it is estimated that a 10% supply driven fall in oil prices increase world GDP by 0.1% to 0.2%. On the other hand, a 10% demand driven fall in oil prices decrease world GDP by more than 0.2%. Simulations also suggest that the impact of both of these forces in one year would cancel each other out and result in nearly a zero percentage effect on GDP.

While world GDP may not be positively effected by demand driven decreases in oil prices, these lower oil prices do benefit oil importing states, such as the US. However, the benefit has been small and has not outweighed the negatives that are brought onto the world economy. These negatives include oil exporting states experiencing significant declines in GDP growth and currency depreciation. These problems faced by oil exporting states cause spill over effects that impact trading partners and global economic activity [1].

When viewed from a macro perspective, the current decrease in the price of oil is not good. A demand driven decrease in oil prices means that the economies of oil producing states are not growing as quickly. As a result, the world economy suffers. The following charts provide further information about oil exporting states, GDP growth, and oil prices.

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Read the European Central Bank’s report: ECB_Economic_Bulletin