Infographic: Climate change in 2050

Infographic: Climate change in 2050

Climate change is the defining issue of our time and generation. If no action is taken to address climate change, what are the implications of a heating world for the year 2050?

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Climate change in 2050: the implications of a heating world

Climate change is the defining issue of our time and generation. It refers to the long-term rise in the earth’s overall temperature, and is having profound and potentially permanent impacts on the world we live in.

It is caused by human activities which emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. As these gases build up in our atmosphere, our planet is warming up just like a greenhouse.

According to NASA, over the last 20 years, 19 have been the warmest ever recorded, with the trend continuing to gather pace. Here we identify several areas that are prone to the risk and picture a world in 2050 if no efforts are taken to address climate change - one of, if not the greatest, threats to businesses, society and the long-term financial return for investors.

  1. The places where we live and work

Climate shifts like heat waves could restrict the ability of people to work outdoor, and, in extreme cases, put their lives at risk. Under a 2050 climate scenario developed by NASA, continuing growth of the greenhouse emission at today’s rate could lead to additional global warming of about 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050.[1] People will likely be forced to work indoors or to take frequent breaks to prevent heatstroke, while extreme hot weather could also lead to changes in the disease vectors which ultimately impact human health.

  1. Food production

A changing climate is likely to both improve and degrade the performance of food systems. Some regions may become more productive under a warming climate, whilst others may see a significant drop in food production. A McKinsey study[2] found that by 2050 while soy would benefit from higher temperatures, rice and wheat could become increasingly volatile. In another scenario analysis, it is estimated that by 2050, food production will be inadequate to feed the growing global population because of one-fifth decline in crop yields.[3] It is clear that the food production will be heavily impacted by climate change.

  1. Infrastructure assets

Extreme hot weather could significantly lower the efficiency of the power systems around the world. According to McKinsey, up to 185,000 airline passengers per year may be grounded due to extreme heat (48 degrees Celsius), approximately 23 times more than today. [4] Other extreme weather events like hurricanes will likely impact infrastructure that serves both individuals and corporates.

  1. Physical assets

Physical assets in general are highly exposed to climate risks. For example, offshore structures and transportation systems are exposed to variability in ambient environmental conditions, whilst excessive flooding or forest fires may damage or even destroy buildings. It is projected that the

amount of physical capital that could be damaged as a result of riverine flooding by 2050 will rise to US$1.6 trillion globally and US$1.2 trillion in Asia.[1]

  1. Natural capital

Natural systems are prone to significant risks as climate change is worsening, which could further exacerbate existing challenges such as water scarcity. It’s projected that by 2050, glacial loss will reach 70 percent in the Andes; the summer monsoons in China will fail, and water flows into the great rivers of Asia will be severely reduced by the loss of more than one-third of the Himalayan ice sheet.[2]

  1. Outdoor air quality

By 2050, outdoor air pollution particulate matter and ground-level ozone is projected to become the top cause of environmentally related deaths worldwide.[3] A study showed that with no change in emissions by 2050, 1,126,000 premature mortalities are expected each year due to ozone[4].

  1. Precipitation risks

Precipitation extremes, such as heavy rainfalls and droughts are becoming far more frequent and intense in some regions. According to a McKinsey report, the likelihood of extreme precipitation events could increase three or fourfold by 2050 in Asian regions.[5]

  1. Water management

Water utility operation is another area that is subject to climate risks, which threatens to affect water quality in rivers, lakes, and streams. By 2050, more than half of the global population (57%) will live in areas that suffer water scarcity at least one month each year.[6]

  1. Waste management

The World Bank estimates global waste will grow by 70 percent by 2050 as urbanisation and populations rise[7], requiring better collecting, recycling of trash, as well as expertise clean-up efforts from public and private sectors.

  1. Public health

A rise in temperature could pose a serious threat to public health as it affects the quality of drinking water and the way chemicals and debris are disposed of. The World Health Organisation projects that between 2030 and 2050, climate change impacts will cause 250,000 more deaths globally each year, mainly from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress. 

 

[1]. Source: NASA, 2019.

2. Source: McKinsey Global Institute, Climate risk and response report, 2020.

[3]. Source: Existential climate related security risk by Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration, 2019.

[4]. Source: Climate risk and response in Asia by McKinsey Global Institute, 2020.

[5] Source: Climate risk and response in Asia by McKinsey Global Institute, 2020.

[6] Source: Existential climate related security risk by Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration, 2019.

[7] Source: OECD, 2012.

[8]. Source:  Neihs, University of Leeds, 2019.

[9].Source: Climate risk and response in Asia by McKinsey Global Institute, 2020

[10] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41545-019-0039-9,2019.

[11] https://datatopics.worldbank.org/what-a-waste/, 2018.

[12]https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/climate-change-and-health#:~:text=Key%20facts,malaria%2C%20diarrhoea%20and%20heat%20stress, 2018

This document is issued by FIL Responsible Entity (Australia) Limited ABN 33 148 059 009, AFSL No. 409340 (“Fidelity Australia”).  Fidelity Australia is a member of the FIL Limited group of companies commonly known as Fidelity International.

Prior to making an investment decision, retail investors should seek advice from their financial adviser. This document is intended as general information only. Please remember past performance is not a guide to the future. Investors should also obtain and consider the Product Disclosure Statements ("PDS") for the fund(s) mentioned in this document before making any decision about whether to acquire the product. The PDS is available on www.fidelity.com.au or can be obtained by contacting Fidelity Australia on 1800 119 270. The relevant Target Market Determination (TMD) is available via www.fidelity.com.au. This document has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider such matters before acting on the information contained in this document. This document may include general commentary on market activity, industry or sector trends or other broad-based economic or political conditions which should not be construed as investment advice. Information stated herein about specific securities is subject to change. Any reference to specific securities should not be construed as a recommendation to buy, sell or hold these securities. While the information contained in this document has been prepared with reasonable care, no responsibility or liability is accepted for any errors or omissions or misstatements however caused. The document may not be reproduced or transmitted without prior written permission of Fidelity Australia. The issuer of Fidelity's funds is FIL Responsible Entity (Australia) Limited ABN 33 148 059 009. References to ($) are in Australian dollars unless stated otherwise. Details of Fidelity Australia’s provision of financial services to retail clients are set out in our Financial Services Guide, a copy of which can be downloaded from our website.

© 2021 FIL Responsible Entity (Australia) Limited. Fidelity, Fidelity International and the Fidelity International logo and F symbol are trademarks of FIL Limited

This document is issued by FIL Responsible Entity (Australia) Limited ABN 33 148 059 009, AFSL No. 409340 (“Fidelity Australia”). Fidelity Australia is a member of the FIL Limited group of companies commonly known as Fidelity International.

This document is intended for use by advisers and wholesale investors. Retail investors should not rely on any information in this document without first seeking advice from their financial adviser. This document has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider these matters before acting on the information.  You should also consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statements (“PDS”) for any Fidelity Australia product mentioned in this document before making any decision about whether to acquire the product. The PDS can be obtained by contacting Fidelity Australia on 1800 119 270 or by downloading it from our website at This document may include general commentary on market activity, sector trends or other broad-based economic or political conditions that should not be taken as investment advice. Information stated herein about specific securities is subject to change. Any reference to specific securities should not be taken as a recommendation to buy, sell or hold these securities. While the information contained in this document has been prepared with reasonable care, no responsibility or liability is accepted for any errors or omissions or misstatements however caused. This document is intended as general information only. The document may not be reproduced or transmitted without prior written permission of Fidelity Australia. The issuer of Fidelity’s managed investment schemes is FIL Responsible Entity (Australia) Limited ABN 33 148 059 009. Reference to ($) are in Australian dollars unless stated otherwise.

© 2021 FIL Responsible Entity (Australia) Limited. Fidelity, Fidelity International and the Fidelity International logo and F symbol are trademarks of FIL Limited.

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