Climate change has caused $150 billion in damage to the American economy

Climate change has caused $150 billion in damage to the American economy

The United States is now experiencing an extreme weather event with damages and costs reaching $1 billion every three weeks.

This compares to a rate every four months in the 1980s, when adjusted for inflation, according to the latest edition of the US National Climate Assessment released on Tuesday.
For the first time, the assessment includes a separate chapter on the economic impacts associated with climate action.

Such events cost the United States approximately $150 billion annually and disproportionately harm poor and disadvantaged communities. According to the assessment, other economic consequences of climate change will become more severe unless the country invests more in clean energy and adapts cities to rising temperatures and rising sea levels.
“While some of the economic impacts of climate change are already being felt across the country, the effects of future changes are expected to be more significant and visible throughout the U.S. economy,” the federal report said.
Ski resorts in the Northwest, farmers in the Midwest, and fisheries in the Northeast face climate-related risks to their local economies. Droughts, wildfires, hurricanes and floods are occurring more frequently due to rising greenhouse gas emissions, disrupting the country’s food and water supplies and way of life. About 40% of the U.S. population lives in coastal communities vulnerable to sea level rise, and millions of homeowners could be displaced by the end of the century, according to the assessment.

The Energy Department said Tuesday it will make $3.9 billion in federal grants available to modernize the nation’s strained power grid, the latest in a series of investments funded under the Infrastructure Act of 2021. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is making $2 billion for community climate projects Through the climate law passed last year, known as the Inflation Control Act.
Tuesday’s report said such investments are urgent because the United States and other countries need to accelerate the pace of cutting emissions and removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to slow climate change.
The report concluded that the recent decline in US emissions is not enough to put the country on track to meet its climate goals. Emissions fell by less than 1% per year on average from 2005 to 2019, but must fall by more than 6% on average per year to prevent the climate from warming more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by mid-century. This is in line with national goals and sustainable development goals. Paris climate agreement. Many countries have defaulted on their commitments to the Paris Agreement.

Tuesday’s report comes ahead of the global climate summit in the United Arab Emirates scheduled to begin later this month. This coincides with a campaign by the Biden administration to direct billions of dollars to clean energy projects to create jobs and slow climate change. Ali Al-Zaidi, White House national climate adviser, said the report supports the president’s strategy to turn the climate crisis into an economic opportunity through subsidies and other incentives.
According to the assessment, companies that build new manufacturing facilities to take advantage will have to invest in climate solutions like water recycling in the Southwest to realize the economic benefits.
“It has become increasingly important to implement resilience strategies to ensure critical infrastructure and economic development assets are protected from climate change,” said Dave White, director of the Global Institute for Sustainability and Innovation at Arizona State University and co-author of the report. .

The assessment also focuses on the opportunities created by the transition away from fossil fuels, finding that job losses associated with fossil fuels are expected to be offset by new clean energy jobs, and that the benefits of slowing climate change will outweigh the costs. The report says cities, states and federal governments will face greater expenses from disaster response and other costs and lower revenues from lost taxes and other sources the longer they wait to act.
The National Climate Assessment was established in 1990 by law and is released every four years, although it is sometimes delayed. This latest edition – the fifth – expands on the findings of the last assessment in 2018 and was written by more than 750 experts and reviewed by 14 federal agencies.
A new chapter on economics shows how climate change could affect life expectancy, leisure activities, and mental health, as well as the tangible costs of disasters.

“It paints a much broader picture of the ways in which climate change is impacting daily life,” said Delavan Diaz, lead team leader at the nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute and co-author of the report.
Write to Amrith Ramkumar at amrith.ramkumar@wsj.com

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    (tags for translation)Climate

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