This winter, which has been unusually warm, was like a disaster for the global energy market. American meteorologist Joe Woznicki said the demand for heating in the U.S. was 12 percent lower than the 10-year average, 14 percent lower in Asia and 13 percent lower in Europe. The northern hemisphere reduced heating by more than 10 percent this winter. The reduction in the heating demand led to lower consumption of petroleum and natural gas, which in turn led to a fall in prices. Natural gas, one of the most widely used fossil fuel for heating, is traded at a price 30 percent lower than last year in the U.S. futures market. If this trend continues, Russia may be the starting point of an economic crisis that would affect the whole world as 40 percent of the country’s import is petroleum and natural gas.
The bushfire used to be a global issue recently, which is also heavily affected by global warming. Global warming and bushfire seem to have not much in common, but experts said expanding dry regions caused by global warming as the culprit of bigger fires. Insurance claims due to the California wildfires in November last year were worth 14 trillion won.
According to a study published in British journal Nature Climate Change by a Japanese research team, the economic damage from global warming would be as much as nine percent of the global GDP by the end of this century if no change is made. This means one-tenth of global economic activities disappears because of global warming. The research team projects that the damage could be reduced to 0.4-1.2 percent of the world’s GDP if the average temperature rise is kept at less than two degrees Celsius, observing the Paris Climate Agreement.
Unlike other countries that bear economic damage worth several trillion won due to global warming, South Korea is having small changes in the ecosystem, such as fish types usually caught in Jeju Island caught in the east sea or frogs waking up a month earlier and freezing to death. But we should not put this issue on the back burner just because damages in the nation are not that significant.
Humanity has ceaselessly pursued development based on the confidence that science can solve every problem. But global warming is negatively affecting the economy in general going beyond our daily lives as if it sneers at the power of science. If we do not look for ways to harmoniously coexist with the earth, we may not even have resources to invest in science in the future.