According to a recent study published in the journal Science Advances, heat waves, exacerbated by human-caused climate change, have cost the global economy at least 16 trillion dollars in the last 30 years. This burden has disproportionately fallen on the world’s poorest and lowest carbon-emitting nations, contributing to widening inequalities around the world. The findings stress the immediate need for policies and technologies that protect people during the hottest days of the year, particularly in the world’s warmest, most economically vulnerable nations. The results of the study underscore issues of climate justice and inequality as the economic costs of extreme heat — as well as the expense of adaptation — have been and will be disproportionately borne by the world’s poorest nations in the tropics and the global South.
The study comes just days ahead of the start of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, where the question of compensation for countries that are disproportionately vulnerable to but least responsible for climate change is expected to be one of the key topics.