Previous studies had estimate climate change would cost humanity $100 per ton of carbon emissions, but new research has found it will be 1,000 times higher than previous estimates. The latest study from the University of Chicago said that previous models only go up to 2100.
However, the team behind the research argue that humanity will not see the true effects of climate change for “thousands” of years.
On the basis that the economy continues to grow forever, the researchers believe climate change will cost $100,000 per ton of carbon emission.
To put that into perspective, the United Nations said last year CO2 emissions reached a new record high of 36.7 Gigatons (Gt). One gigaton is one billion tons.
The researchers believe the costly figure comes from rising sea levels which will force people to move, loss of land to grow crops, increased health problems which will put strain on health services, as well as a plethora of environmental issues.
But the researchers say humanity will not see the true devastation of climate change for a long time.
And it may already be too late do do anything about it, the experts said.
Professor David Archer, a computational climate scientist, said: “What we wanted to get with this calculation is a better sense of the burden we’re placing on future generations.
“This is not intended to be a realistic calculation of the present-day value of costs, but it’s our attempt to try to put the huge time scales into more understandable units.
“Most people are not geologists, and even for us it’s really hard to wrap your mind around how long the changes we’re making now are actually going to last.
“Ice sheets take a very, very long time to settle into equilibrium, so the changes we’re seeing now won’t fully be realised for thousands of years, and it could ultimately rise 160 feet.
“The ultimate costs are a thousand times higher than the more normally calculated present-day value of those costs because climate change will persist for a thousand times longer than our generation will.
“The messes that don’t clean themselves up when we stop polluting—those are the things that scare me.
“Like mercury pollution, which will continue poisoning our sushi for 10,000 years, climate change is going to be with us for much longer than any of us can easily imagine.”