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Climate change & environmental damage: Examining five of the worst economic problems caused by worsening pollution

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Published Date : Mar 2017

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No. of Pages : 49 Pages

Climate change & environmental damage: Examining five of the worst economic problems caused by worsening pollution


Climate change and the state of the environment are the most important and difficult challenges facing governments, businesses and individuals this century. Now the environmental risks posed by a developing climate are taking a toll. There needs to be careful management to reduce the impacts on the global economy that climate change, and environmental damage caused by changing weather patterns, will bring and some problems which wont be preventable.

Key Highlights

- The worlds major cities are recording high levels of dangerous pollutants, largely caused by governments encouraging the use of diesel over petrol powered vehicles. Manufactures are now improving designs; governments are seeking to grow alternatives such as EV and hybrid vehicles.
- The plastic trash vortex in the Pacific Ocean is vast - a larger area than Texas - and has been caused by plastic waste, particularly plastic microbeads. Now under pressure from consumers, large companies are changing how products are made to meet with consumer demands and strengthening government regulation.
- Many of the largest and most economically important cities in the world are situated near waterways. Current projections show major problems are looming, creating major population displacement problems. Avoiding these and other problems appears to be increasingly unlikely, meaning governments can only seek to limit the potential damage.


- Examines how various environmental problems pose challenges to businesses around the world.
- Assesses how environmental damage feeds back into problems for commerce, such as resource management and sustainability.
- Looks at how different businesses are impacted by growing pressure of climate change and environmental damage.
- Details how climate change presents threats to the security of food supply and the wider issues that entails.
- Assesses the potential economic damage incurred from rising sea levels in the context of many centers of economic power being near major bodies of water.

Reasons to buy

- What is the likely impact of plastic waste on large companies?
- How are governments and businesses reacting to the growing pollution problems in major cities?
- What is the potential impact of rising sea levels on the major cities of the world?
- How will climate change impact food supply and what will be the knock-on effects?
- What role will coal play in the future of power generation as the world seeks cleaner sources of energy?
Table of Contents
Executive Summary 2
Diesels bubble slowly bursting: Opportunity for cleaner fuel sources arising 2
Rising global coal demand creates contrasting impact on business 3
The Pacific Trash Vortex: Oceanic plastic pollution and the impact on business 3
Rising sea levels will impact the global economy making some cities uninhabitable 4
Climate Change and Food Security: The Global Threat 5
Diesels bubble slowly bursting: Opportunity for cleaner fuel sources arising 11
World cities are recording high levels of dangerous pollutants 11
Fines and bans will affect 50% of the European vehicle fleet 12
The move from petrol to diesel was encouraged by legislators 12
Manufacturers have used dirty tactics to keep up with rules 13
Some small signs that consumers are moving away from diesel 13
Manufacturers are improving their designs in readiness 15
Europe will become an attractive market for EVs and Hybrids 16
Rising global coal demand creates contrasting impact on business 18
Expensive energy creates contrast in industrial competitiveness with non-OECD nations 18
Low-cost coal continues to rule in non-OECD countries, helping industry 20
Cheap coal keeps prices down for consumers, encouraging use 21
Trump and coal: Dumping waste in water could harm unrelated industries 22
Impact of coal on fresh water has wider ramifications for economies 22
Environmental laws on coal helps renewable energy across the world 24
The pacific Trash Vortex: Oceanic Plastic pollution and the impact on business 25
The extent of oceanic plastic pollution is colossal, raising concerns about the use of plastic in the consumer society 25
Microbeads in the oceans could be making fish and marine life toxic, threatening numerous industries 26
Government policy on plastic waste is forcing companies to change, opening up fresh opportunities 26
Decline in plastic bag use prompted by government action increases demand for alternatives 27
Industry successfully turned UK government policy away from tough targets on non-recyclable plastic use 28
Growing influence of corporate responsibility the consequence of oceanic plastic pollution 28
New companies with innovative solutions to ocean plastic pollution enter the market 29
New technology seeks to solve environmental problems caused by waste plastic 30
Big industry: Dell converts ocean plastic waste into packing for laptops 31
Rising Sea Levels will impact the global economy making some cities uninhabitable 32
Current projections of sea level rise suggest disaster is looming 32
China and Netherlands heavily exposed to population displacement 33
US, China and India have billions of dollars of exposed assets 35
Sea level rises will affect inland areas too through river floods 36
Avoiding these problems is looking increasingly unlikely 36
Companies and governments need to make difficult decisions 38
Climate Change and Food Security: The Global Threat 39
Impact of climate change on agriculture is unevenly spread - tropical regions will suffer the most, threatening supplies 39
Crop yields around the world fail to keep pace as climate change sets in 40
Conditions demand a second green revolution - this time to create resilience against extreme weather events 41
Pesticide use in response to climate change harms food security throughout the world 42
Growing food insecurity is damaging economies and creating political strife 43
Agriculture in Africa is sensitive to the effects of climate change, potentially causing political and social mayhem 43
Desertification will get worse, harming food security, with the onset of climate change 44
Business action points 45
Appendix 46
Sources 46
Further Reading 47
Ask the analyst 48
About MarketLine 48
Disclaimer 48

List of Tables
Table 1: Coal and lignite production for OECD countries (Mt) 19
Table 2: Assets exposed globally to rising sea levels 35

List of Figures
Figure 1: Smog in Shanghai 2
Figure 2: Coal Briquettes 3
Figure 3: Plastic sea waste 4
Figure 4: Thames Barrier 4
Figure 5: Wheat crops 5
Figure 6: Pollution index in European cities 11
Figure 7: Deaths in Europe 2015 from Nitrous Oxide 12
Figure 8: Break down of fuel types in Europe in 2015 13
Figure 9: Break down of fuel types in Europe in 2016 14
Figure 10: Co2 Emissions by world region 1990-2015 million metric tons of carbon 15
Figure 11: Market share % of EVs & HEVs in Europe 2015-2016 16
Figure 12: Available new and used vehicles on Autotrader UK by fuel source March 2017 17
Figure 13: Energy intensity of GDP at constant purchasing power parities (koe/$ - 2005 prices) 18
Figure 14: OECD coal and lignite production (mt) 19
Figure 15: CO2 emissions from fuel combustion (MtCO2) 20
Figure 16: World coal consumption by region, 1980-2040 (forecast from 2013) in quadrillion Btu 21
Figure 17: US coal production (millions of ton) 22
Figure 18: Indian coal production (millions of ton) 23
Figure 19: Percentage share of renewables in energy production for OECD 24
Figure 20: Number of plastic packaged goods sold in G7 countries (billions) Forecast from 2016 25
Figure 21: 2015 UK fish catch weight (millions of kg) 26
Figure 22: Decline in plastic bag use six months after introduction of five pence charge 27
Figure 23: mmlbs Post-consumer Bottles Recycled / Used by Reclaimers in the United States 29
Figure 24: Gross plastic bottle recycling rate in the United States 30
Figure 25: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop 31
Figure 26: Observed sea level change mm per year 32
Figure 27: Population at risk from rising sea levels (millions of people) 33
Figure 28: Percentage of population at risk of displacement 34
Figure 29: Current population affected annually by river floods millions of people 36
Figure 30: Global Release of Carbon Dioxide excluding land-use change and forestry (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year) 39
Figure 31: Tanzania, millions of tonnes of wheat per hectare 40
Figure 32: Australian rice production, millions of tonnes per hectare 41
Figure 33: Global area of GE crops (millions of hectares) 42
Figure 34: Brazilian pesticide market ($bn) 43
Figure 35: Libyan Agriculture, hunting, forestry, fishing value (LYDm) 44

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