Cli­mate Change Will Se­verely Dam­age U.S. Econ­omy

Trillions - - In This Issue -

Un­mit­i­gated cli­mate change will make the United States poorer and more un­equal, ac­cord­ing to a new study pub­lished in the jour­nal Sci­ence.

The re­searchers who con­ducted the study claim that states in the South and lower Mid­west, which tend to be poor and hot al­ready, will lose the most, with eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity trav­el­ing north­ward and west­ward.

"Un­mit­i­gated cli­mate change will be very ex­pen­sive for huge re­gions of the United States," said Hsiang, Chan­cel­lor's As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Pub­lic Pol­icy at UC Berke­ley. "If we con­tinue on the cur­rent path, our analysis in­di­cates it may re­sult in the largest trans­fer of wealth from the poor to the rich in the coun­try's his­tory."

The pi­o­neer­ing study may set­tle the de­bate over whether cli­mate change will help or hurt the U.S. econ­omy, be­ing the first to use state-of-the-art sta­tis­ti­cal meth­ods and 116 cli­mate pro­jec­tions de­vel­oped by sci­en­tists around the world to price the im­pacts of cli­mate change the way the in­sur­ance in­dus­try or an in­vestor would, com­par­ing risks and re­wards. The team of econ­o­mists and cli­mate sci­en­tists com­puted the real-world costs and ben­e­fits: how agri­cul­ture, crime, health, en­ergy de­mand, la­bor and coastal com­mu­ni­ties will be af­fected by higher tem­per­a­tures, chang­ing rain­fall, ris­ing seas and in­ten­si­fy­ing hur­ri­canes.

"In the ab­sence of ma­jor ef­forts to re­duce emis­sions and strengthen re­silience, the Gulf Coast will take a mas­sive hit," said Kopp, a pro­fes­sor of Earth and Plan­e­tary Sciences at Rut­gers Univer­sity-new Brunswick. "Its ex­po­sure to sea-level rise -- made worse by po­ten­tially stronger hur­ri­canes -- poses a ma­jor risk to its com­mu­ni­ties. In­creas­ingly ex­treme heat will drive up vi­o­lent crime, slow down work­ers, amp up air con­di­tion­ing costs, and threaten people's lives."

Trump is not just deny­ing that the cli­mate is chang­ing but is also de­fund­ing hur­ri­cane pre­dic­tion pro­grams.

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