A U.S. Global Change Research Program report finds that U.S. could lose 10% of its GDP by the end of this century due to climate change.
A new U.S. government report was published over Thanksgiving weekend. This federally mandated study created by the US Global Change Research Program focused on the impacts and risks in the United States to climate trends. The report discovered that with current climate change trends, the U.S. is expected to lose more than 10% of its GDP by 2100. Additionally, global temperature by the end of the century could rise as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit.
The report breaks down climate change’s expected effects on U.S. economy, water, health, indigenous peoples, ecosystems & services, agriculture, infrastructure, oceans & coasts, and tourism. Its predicted future is a bleak one for all of these sectors.
According to CNN‘s article on this topic, “the cost of climate change could reach hundreds of billions of dollars annually.” All parts of the U.S. will be affected by climate change, with the Southeast predicted to lose over half a billion labor hours by 2100 due to extreme heat. The Midwest will also be affected because higher temperatures and drought will lead to farms producing 75% or less of their current yield. Climate change will affect the dairy industry, too. CNN reported that in the next 12 years, dairy production could fall “between 0.60% and 1.35%,” and climate change has already cost the industry $1.2 billion since 2010.
Climate change’s cost will not only affect the U.S. financially. The study also predicts that thousands will die due to the forecasted rise in temperature. In the Midwest alone, the report found that over 2,000 people will die by 2090. There will also be a rise in mosquito and tickborne diseases such as Zika and West Nile. The expected poor air quality will lead to an increase in asthma and allergy rates, while hotter temperatures will put more people at risk of cardiopulmonary illness. Food-, water-, and vector-borne diseases will be on the rise as well. The report’s Human Health section paints a future where no one in the U.S. will be unaffected by climate change.
As Earth’s temperature continues to rise during the next century, this U.S. government report expects heat and flooding’s effects to rise to disastrous levels much more frequently. They predict wildfire season will last longer, be more destructive, and burn up to six times more forest area annually by 2050. They also predict that days over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will increase dramatically, leading to energy shortages and blackouts in regions not accustomed to this type of hot weather. The U.S. coastal infrastructure will also be under threat of flooding due to rising sea levels.
As unfavorable as these future predictions are, the US Global Change Research Program has included suggestions to policymakers in how they can alleviate the problem. One of the key takeaways of the report is that overall climate risk can be lowered by “reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).” The report advises that multiple measures can be taken to lower GHG levels, such as “emissions pricing…, regulations and standards…, subsidies…, and public funding for research, development, and demonstration programs.” According to CNN‘s article, not a single G20 country is currently meeting climate targets, so effective and wide-spread policies must be implemented quickly in order to try and reduce climate change’s future effects.