6.6 trillion USD

Hot on the heels of the Carbon Disclosure Project’s 2010 report the United Nations has just released its global environmental damage assessment.

At a staggering $ 6.6 trillion – equivalent to 11% of global GDP for damage caused by human activity in 2008 – its bigger than the Global Financial Crisis.

The study projects that the monetary value – from water and air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, general waste and depleted resources – could reach $28.6 trillion in 2050.

Other study headlines include:

  • The top global 3,000 public companies were responsible for $ 2.15 trillion worth of environmental damage in 2008.
  • More than 50 percent of company earnings could be at risk from environmental costs (in an equally weighted portfolio).
  • Damage costs are generally higher than the cost of preventing or limiting pollution and resource depletion.

UN PRI and UNEP Why environmental externalities matter to institutional investors Executive Summary here.