Climate Change Could Cost The U.S. 10.5% Of Its Gross Domestic Product Over Next 80 Years

Global climate change will take a gigantic bite out of the United States economy over the next several decades, according to a new report from the Washington Post, and is predicted to cost at least 10.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the year 2100:

“Extreme weather events, cuts to worker productivity and other effects of climate change could cause major global economic losses unless greenhouse gas emissions are significantly curtailed in the next few decades, according to a new working paper published Monday. The paper is the latest in a string of reports from the United Nations and global financial institutions and others showing that climate change constitutes a looming financial risk.

“At a time when there’s concern about a global economic downturn, the new study, circulated as a working paper in the National Bureau of Economic Research, warns of a far bigger cut to economic growth if global warming goes unchecked.”

What makes the new study so alarming is that it predicts much higher economic costs for industrialized nations, noting that continued temperature increases of .072 degrees per year (0.04 Celsius) will result in a 7.2 percent cut to global GDP.

In contrast, if countries manage to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in line with those suggested in the Paris climate agreement, economic losses could be reduced to just 1.1 percent of GDP.

Study co-author Kamiar Mohaddes, an economist at the University of Cambridge in the UK, told the Post:

“What our study suggests is that climate change is costly for all countries under the business as usual scenario (no matter whether they are hot or cold, rich or poor), and the United States will be one of the countries that will suffer the most (reflecting sharp increases in U.S. average temperatures by 2100).”

The Trump administration and its allies in Congress have repeatedly said the United States can merely “innovate and manage” its way out of the growing global climate crisis, EcoWatch notes, but facts suggest otherwise:

“Overall, while climate change adaptation could reduce these negative long-run growth effects, it is highly unlikely to offset them entirely,” the report said, which Politico reported. “The evidence appears to suggest that (at least for now) adaptation has had limited impact in dampening the negative effects of climate change in the United States.”

Mohaddes also warned that extreme weather events are already increasing and growing worse, pointing to a recent example that made headlines across the world:

“The UK recently had its hottest day on record. Train tracks buckled, roads melted, and thousands were stranded because it was out of the norm. Such events take an economic toll, and will only become more frequent and severe without policies to address the threats of climate change.”

Economic losses will also be significant for other nations, too:

“Canada, for example, could lose more than 13 percent of its GDP by 2100, while Japan, India and New Zealand could be subjected to a 10 percent hit as well.”

Mohaddes said Canada is warming at an especially alarming rate:

“Canada is warming up twice as fast as rest of the world. There are risks to its physical infrastructure, coastal and northern communities, human health and wellness, ecosystems and fisheries — all of which has a cost.”

The larger question remains this: Even if countries such as the United States are threatened economically by climate change, will there ever be the political will to do anything about it?

Featured Image Via MaxPixel

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Andrew Bradford

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