Cost of climate change high - experts

KIGALI - A report by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) on the economics of climate change in Rwanda has revealed that climate change has had a significant setback on the economy, especially in the past four years.
TAKING STEPS: Caroline Kayonga
TAKING STEPS: Caroline Kayonga

KIGALI - A report by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) on the economics of climate change in Rwanda has revealed that climate change has had a significant setback on the economy, especially in the past four years.

The research which was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) assessed the impact of the various climate change conditions such as carbon emissions, droughts and floods.

The report indicates that in 2007 alone, it is estimated that the measurable economic costs for floods were US$ 4 to 22m which is equivalent to around 0.1 to 0.6 of GDP for two districts alone, excluding the wider economic costs like infrastructure damage.

“The climate change impacts are reducing GDP and generally affecting economic growth, however the steps Rwanda is taking to combat this phenomenon are worth commending,” pointed Paul Watkiss the Project Director.

Speaking to The New Times, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Natural Resources, Caroline Kayonga, said they are taking the research recommendations seriously and its findings are going to significantly help them in strengthening mechanisms of combating impacts of climate change in a broader perspective.

“We are taking the recommendations and findings of this report, there are already things we have done and others are underway in line with combating climate change and we believe this report is going to help us strengthen our efforts and strategies.”

The impacts of climate change are cross-cutting and have been felt by various sectors including agriculture, health, energy and a significant effect on the existing eco-systems.

It is estimated that climate change could increase the rural population at risk from malaria by 150 percent by 2050, and the disease burden could lead to full economic risks that are over US$50m per year.

According to the report, future economic costs of climate change are very uncertain, however, aggregate models indicate that the additional net economic costs could be equivalent to a loss of almost of 1 percent of GDP each year by 2030.  

The recommendations include building adaptive capacity, focusing on win-win or low cost measures, strengthening the already existing campaign to further lessen carbon emissions in the short term and in the future.

Developing countries need over US$30 bn annually to deal with effects of climate change. 

The report comes only 12 days to the much awaited Copenhagen convention on climate change mitigation.

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