Every four years, congress mandates that the federal government issue a national climate assessment. The Obama administration produce the first report, and weeks ago 13 federal agencies issued the new shocking second volume.
In the 1,656-page report scientist detail how if action to mitigate climate change is not taken seriously it will cause irreversible environmental destruction health effects and severe economic blows- something that was not discussed in the last report. The information reveals that climate change will reduce the U.S gross domestic product by a tenth, which is double what was lost during the Great Recession in 2008.
The question how are the climate and economy correlated?
Consumer’s will be footing the bill for these ecological disasters in one way or another.
America’s supply chains mainly operate overseas, making them particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Intense new weather patterns are reaching every corner of the planet, making it virtually impossible to protect industries against their impacts. In 2011, Thailand swept news headlines because of the mass tsunami that caused irreparable damage to the country. American tech company Western Digital produces more than half of their hard drives in Thailand. Western Digital sustained $166 million in losses, cutting their production in half. With a major decrease in product, the price of hard drives sky rocketed forcing companies who purchase WD’s drives like HP, Apple and Dell to in turn increase their product which directly impacts the consumer.
Moreover, America’s farm belt will suffer extreme blows which will also cause a rise in consumer products.
With the consistently rising temperatures drought and rangeland wildfires will become common deeply impacting farmer’s crops in some regions, while substantial downpours in other areas will cause flooding.
Midwestern farmer’s suffered major economic losses during the drought of 2012, minimal snowfall coupled with unprecedented temperatures caused water scarcity in regions stretching throughout the U.S. This type of unexpected change during the growing season caused a decrease in agricultural productivity, impacted livestock health and a sharp decline in crop yield. By midcentury, yields are forecasted to fall to low production levels that caused the agricultural crisis of the 1980s.
The not so obvious cost factors included in the report:
– The displacement of entire communities because of coastal flooding, this includes Alaska where sea ice is melting at an alarming rate causing flooding and erosion. The price tag for sea level rise is estimated to be $118 billion
– Wildfires are predicted to spread into the Southeastern region of the country- an area that has minimal experience with fire containment. Scientist estimate that the cost of infrastructure damage from climate change is $32 billion
– A stark rise in heat related death is expected to cost $141 billion
But we do not have to fly completely off the rails, scientists do pose a call to action in the report that includes three suggestions.
1.) Taxing and charging fees on companies that emit greenhouse gases (key contributors of climate change)
2.) Implementing government regulations that set a limit on how much greenhouse gas can be produced
3.) Spending a portion of tax payer’s money to research clean-energy options.
The hope is that instead of these reports striking fear into the hearts of its readers, it will cause motivation for change. After the Obama administration issued the first report in 2014, it had drawn awareness to how serious global climate change is. The outcome was the implementation of the Clean Power Plan in June of 2014, which called for drastic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions by coal fire power plants.
This report follows the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s assessment of climate change that was released in October that detailed how a global humanitarian crisis will be the outcome of climate change. By making climate information transparent to the public, we can all become active agents of change.
For more information on National Climate Assessment: https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/ &
IPCC report: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/