Le froid calcul du réchauffement de la planète

Le gouvernement britannique a récemment mené l’étude la plus complète à ce jour sur les risques et les coûts économiques du réchauffement de la planète, ainsi que sur les mesures qui pourraient réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre pour éviter certaines conséquences des plus désastreuses. Etabli sous la direction de Sir Nicholas Stern de l’Ecole d’économie de Londres, qui m’a succédé en tant qu’économiste en chef de la Banque mondiale, le rapport montre clairement que le problème n’est plus de savoir si l’on peut faire quelque chose pour lutter contre le réchauffement, mais plutôt si l’on peut se permettre de ne rien faire.

Le rapport propose un programme dont le coût représenterait seulement 1 % de la consommation annuelle et éviterait au monde des risques cinq fois plus chers. Les coûts du réchauffement de la planète exposés dans ce rapport sont plus importants que dans les études précédentes, car ils tiennent compte de la preuve désormais flagrante que le processus de réchauffement est fort complexe, non linéaire et – possibilité non négligeable – qu’il pourrait être plus rapide et avoir un impact beaucoup plus important que prévu.

En fait, cette étude pourrait même nettement sous-estimer les répercussions : par exemple, le changement climatique entraînerait une instabilité du temps, la disparition éventuelle du Gulf Stream – particulièrement préoccupante pour l’Europe – et la prolifération de maladies.

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