Climate change’s economic cost
The surprising impacts on the U.S. financial system
Several experts recently addressed Congress regarding the economic impacts of climate change, and they had some surprising conclusions to report. First off, it’s already cost the U.S. government $1 trillion, a number that stands to grow to $5 trillion by 2050. That’s according to Marshall Burke, an economist and assistant professor of earth system science at Stanford. Among the highlights of the report, given by Burke and scientists, were some key foreseeable economic impacts:
• Cognitive decline and lost productivity: “We have strong evidence that workers in all industries are less productive when it’s hot,” Burke said.
• Civil unrest and violent crime: “[V]iolent assault, sexual violence and homicide all increase on days or months where temperatures are above normal.”
• Increased immigration and income inequality: “[E]conomic damages from climate change will be many times higher in poorer counties as compared to wealthier counties.”
• Insurance collapse: The industry faces economic uncertainty—a phenomenon we’ve seen first-hand post-Camp Fire.