Unmitigated Climate Change Will Make US Poorer
A new study suggests comprehensive and projected effects of unmitigated climate change to the American economy.
The study, led by climate change experts and economists around the world, said unmitigated climate change will the make the United States poorer and more unequal.
This new finding was released by Solomon Hsiang of the University of California, Berkeley, the lead author of the study.
Hsiang said, “Unmitigated climate change will be very expensive for huge regions of the United States. 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 study was spearheaded by a powerhouse of climate scientists composed of Robert Kopp of Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Amir Jina of the University of Chicago, and James Rising, also of UC Berkeley.
The Most Affected States
The study suggests some states will be more badly affected if their warning proceeds unheeded.
The study said the states in the South and lower Midwest, which tend to be poor and hot already, will lose the most.
“In the absence of major efforts to reduce emissions and strengthen resilience, the Gulf Coast will take a massive hit,” said Kopp, a professor in Rutgers’ Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and director of the Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.
Kopp added, “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.”
Through the use of state-of-the-art statistical methods, the researchers were estimated losses in the American economy if climate change is not mitigated.
Aside from that, 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.
How Were Losses Estimated?
The scientists used data and evidence accumulated by the research community over decades to price warming. The team estimates that for each 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.55 degrees Celsius) increase in global temperatures, the U.S. economy loses about 0.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product, with each degree of warming costing more than the last.
Jina, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago, said, “The ‘hidden costs’ of carbon dioxide emissions are no longer hidden, since now we can see them clearly in the data. The emissions coming out of our cars and power plants are reshaping the American economy.”