For the first time in the history of man, nature will be a significant player in global economic stability. The fallout from global warming will tax even the most robust government coffers.
Up until now, nature has taken occasional pot shots at various places around the planet. A hurricane here, a drought there, and we see some local damage to the economy with the key word being ‘local’. An average hurricane may leave a 100 mile wide by 300 mile long path of varying destruction. Outside of that path there may be some rain and a little wind but little to write home about. A drought may be more wide spread but still survivable.
So consider that we already know storms will be more intense and more frequent with category 5 hurricanes making landfall at an ever increasing frequency, imagine the suffering and loss of life for not tens of thousands but tens of millions. Even the introduction of a category 6 hurricane is not out of the question. So imagine what a Katrina or Andrew type storm will do on a near yearly basis. Insurance companies will simply go under and the government will need to do some form of compensation if they expect to get reelected.
So lets say an El Nino or La Nina comes and changes the weather for that year. Considering that everything will be more extreme and bigger areas will be effected, the possibility of entire crops lost for hundreds of miles in all directions is a real and expected outcome. Food prices will simply go through the roof in a matter of hours.
Rising sea levels translate into less fresh water, so imagine entire populations living off desalination plants for drinking water. Mountain springs will dry up simply because the snow melt that feeds them will have melted.
The list can go on for pages and pages, so there is not much need to list more than this. So now it is important to keep in mind each thing listed will dig into government coffers. Infrastructure repair, or subsidizing food costs, or hauling desalinated water from the sea to irrigate inland crops to name a few. The need to relocate entire city populations inland will just about break the bank on its own.
The bottom line is what was just local, will now become global. The ability to compensate for bad weather by shipping in goods or services from another location will simply not be an option because of the endless demand. Supplies will be depleted and that will simply increase death and suffering, but that is how nature works to bring about balance.
Us humans have pushed the planet way out of balance, and nature will simply make the corrections by reducing our population to a number the planet can support.
So getting back to economics, the G20 summit is the place global finances are decided, and perhaps they should have an honorary seat for Mother Nature as she holds most of the cards.