Climate Change Poses An Existential Threat To The US Economy

Matt Lillywhite

Climate change poses an an existential threat to the U.S. economy, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. She's right. The effects of climate change could have a devastating impact on the U.S. economy over the coming decades. Quoting an article published by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago:

"As the global mean temperature rises, various sectors will be adversely impacted, such as agriculture, crime, coastal storms, energy, human mortality, and labor. Taken together, these effects could cost roughly 0.7 percent of GDP for every 1°F increase in temperature on average. Overall, climate change will harm the U.S. economy, even with modest amounts of warming. The U.S. economy would stand to lose between about 1 percent to 4 percent of GDP annually by the end of the century through effects to mortality, labor and the energy sector alone under a high emissions scenario."

It's worth discussing the financial impact of natural disasters on the U.S. economy. According to The New York Times, an analysis of satellite imagery from the past four decades suggests that global warming has increased the chances of hurricanes reaching Category 3 or higher. Therefore, many experts are concerned that economic losses from extreme weather events will become more costly over the coming decades. After all, 85% of all damages from hurricanes come from category 3, 4, and 5 storms, according to data published by NOAA.

Rising sea levels are expected to impact coastal cities such as Miami and New Orleans due to increased rates of flooding. Also, more than 90 U.S. coastal cities are already experiencing chronic flooding – a number that is expected to double by 2030, according to the World Economic Forum.

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