Both Saudi Arabia and COP28 hosts UAE face GDP growth reduction of -72%, says the report
A new study looked at the devastating economic impact climate change will inflict on the Arabian Peninsula. The report titled Mercury Rising: the economic impact of climate change on the Arabian Peninsula, said if global temperature rise reaches 3°C by the end of the century, Gulf countries can expect to suffer an average GDP hit of -69% by 2100.
COP28 hosts UAE and Saudi Arabia both face GDP growth reduction of -72%, added the report.
With delegates discussing a global phase out date for fossil fuels at COP28, the first COP held in the Gulf since 2012, the new report laid out the economic impacts of rising temperatures on one of the world’s already hottest regions.
However, estimates based on peer-reviewed methodology by Burke et al showed that if countries keep global temperature rise to 1.5°C as set out in the Paris Agreement, these countries face an average GDP growth reduction of -8.2% by 2050 and -36% by 2100.
This highlighted the threat posed to the region from the expansion of fossil fuels, which make up 75% of greenhouse gases. The findings have sparked calls from climate scientists and campaigners in the region for a fossil fuel phase out date to be agreed to at COP28 this week.
Shady Khalil, campaigns lead at Greenpeace Middle East and North Africa, said, “As one of the region’s most acutely threatened by climate change, the Middle East and North Africa faces a future where rising temperatures could render vast areas uninhabitable, exacerbating the vulnerabilities of countless communities and leading to displacement, wars, and premature deaths. At COP28, we must commit to a just and equitable phaseout of fossil fuels. This commitment isn’t just for the sake of our region; it’s a clarion call to the world to acknowledge and act upon the urgent need to transition to renewable energy sources. Our actions today will determine the liveability in this region and around the world for generations to come.”
By 2050 and 2100, the economies of these countries are still expected to be higher than they are today. The study highlighted the amount of damage caused to their GDP by climate change, compared to a scenario where climate change didn’t take place.
The report also showed that countries in the region have some of the highest per capita emissions on the planet, even before factoring in the large amounts of fossil fuels created in these countries. These per capita CO2 figures don’t account for emissions embedded in traded goods. The average resident of the COP28 host nation, the UAE, is responsible for 25.8 tonnes of CO2 per year. That is 645 times more than the average person from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whose per capita CO2 emissions is 0.04 tonnes. It is important to note that the methodology used in this study didn’t factor in adaptation measures. So greater investment in adaptation could potentially alleviate some of the economic damage. However, the report warned, adaptation cannot be taken for granted, especially in countries with lower socioeconomic resources. The current lack of adaptation support is one of the key issues being discussed at COP28.