Desertification costs world economy up to 15 trillion dollars – U.N.
By James Reinl
Forest fires, droughts and other forms of land degradation cost the global economy as much as 15 trillion dollars every year and are deepening the climate change crisis, a top United Nations environment official said Friday.
Ibrahim Thiaw, executive secretary of the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), said the degradation of land was shaving 10-17 percent off the world economy, which the World Bank calculates at 85.8 trillion dollars.
Droughts and desertification currently hit 70 countries each year, while sand and dust storms are becoming a growing menace around the world, leading to asthma, bronchitis and other health problems, Thiaw warned.
“The good news is that the technology, the science and the knowledge is there to actually reduce land degradation and fix this phenomenon once and for all,” said Thiaw, formerly a Mauritanian official and deputy chief of the U.N. Environment Programme.