Mankin and Callahan Write on the Scientific Case for Climate Liability and Loss and Damage Claims

Who is responsible for the damage caused by global warming? Justin Mankin and Christopher Callahan discuss this question using their recent study that quantified every country's economic impact to all other countries based on their climate emissions. The US alone was considered responsible for around $1.9 trillion in losses. Callahan and Mankin state three main takeaways from their research:

"First is that the responsibility for the economic damages from warming rests primarily with a handful of major emitters, and this warming has resulted in a wealth transfer from the poorest to the wealthiest countries in the world.

[...] The second insight from our work is the upending of the notion that no one benefits from a country forgoing future emissions unless all countries do; if one country's emissions can cause detectable harm, one country forgoing emissions can generate measurable economic benefits.

A last implication of our analysis is its transparency and extendability: We can use it to quantitatively assess corporate responsibility for warming-induced damages, such as from fossil fuel companies themselves."

 

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Bar graph that shows losses and damages caused by each country, with the United States, China, and the EU in the top three positions.
Total global losses and damages caused by each country's emissions between 1990-2014.

As the United Nations Climate Change Conference continues this week, the responsibility for these climate-related losses and damaged is poised as a critical discussion topic. For the full article, visit here.