THE COSTS OF GLOBAL WARMING

THE COSTS OF GLOBAL WARMING

All the changes we see around us or shown on media channels – all the effects of climate change – seem to surely keep fossil fuel burning at bay. But extreme weather made it all worse, as its impact on human health and safety is rising. Major hurricanes like Irma and Harvey ravaged the U.S. and 9 western states have been greatly affected by wildfires.

EXTREME WEATHER IMPLYES SPENDING BILLIONS

In August 2017, there were 76 wildfires, with estimated losses of up to $300 billion. But costs of the warming effects, plus those coming from health care – all due to air pollution – were estimated to rise even more, reaching at least $360 billion annually. The report – called The Economic Case for Climate Action in the U.S. – states that this has the potential to cripple the United States economic growth.

In an interview with National Geographic, Sir Robert Watson (co-author and director at the United Kingdom’s Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research, and former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) said that “burning fossil fuels comes at a giant price tag which the U.S. economy cannot afford and not sustain. We want to paint a picture for Americans to illustrate the fact that the costs of not acting on climate change are very significant.”

AGRICULTURE, ROADS AND POWER GRIDS MIGHT SUFFER THE MOST

Posing environmental risks beyond anything we know today, the economic outcomes are just showing themselves. But it’s still only the tip of the ice-berg, as researchers still calculate through advanced computer modelling, how global warming will play out in the economic field.

In January 2019, some of the most influential economists in the world, called for a carbon tax in the U.S. – the same thing that the Trump administration has long rejected. Demanding immediate action by introducing a gradually rising carbon tax, a letter was signed by 15 former leaders of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, 27 Nobel laureates and the last 4 people to lead the Federal Reserve.

And here are three possible areas in which global warming could impact economy:

  1. If fertile areas experience hotter temperatures and drought, crops can have decreased yields or be entirely lost.
  2. Transportation and urban development. Roads or buildings (houses, flat blocks or business centers) destroyed by flooding or hurricanes, must be rebuilt.
  3. While many power grids have been working for decades now, some of them should be replaced entirely, because of extreme weather.

Well, it’s quite clear that climate change and its effects will ripple throughout the entire 21st century economy, impacting lifestyles, finances, energy scenarios and sadly, many casualties.

The connection between global warming and the economy is hard to grasp, as Joseph Aldy – teacher at Harvard School for Public Policy – explains:

“I’ve spent the last 20 years trying to communicate it and it’s not easy to process. It’s really hard to convey something that is long term and gradual until it’s not.”

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