The Impact of Climate Change on the United States Economy

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The red line is the adjustment to this growth rate that we estimate will occur because of climate change. The right figure then shows the implication of this change in growth rate for the level of GDP per capita over time. The black line is again the projected level of GDP per capita over time in absent climate change, and the red line is the level of GDP per capita with climate change.

The percentage difference between these two lines is what is plotted by the black line in the figure at the top of the page. The red shading in the figure at the top of the page reflects our uncertainty in a country's impacts. This uncertainty derives from imperfect knowledge of how growth rates have historically responded to temperature [i. But the authors stress that it's still a conservative estimate because it doesn't capture longer-term effects that are still coming, including sea level rise that will put coastal cities at risk and ocean acidification that can damage fisheries.

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The results underline the inequality of climate damage and show why nations should consider—and be held accountable for—the global harm their emissions cause, and not just the impact in their own backyards. By looking at the economic damage on the national level, the study shows how each country's share of the global damage compares to its share of global CO2 emissions.

The U. But India's share of the damage is four times higher than its contribution.

Economics of Climate Change

In contrast, China's share of the emissions is four times larger than its share of the estimated damages, the study says. Northern Europe and Canada also could have low costs or even short-term net benefits from CO2 emissions, according to the estimates. But the longer-term effects are coming, and the study's authors point out that economic damages will spill over as other nations struggle with global warming: trade disruptions will make it harder to import goods they depend on or to export their own, the risks of global economic of turmoil and mass migration will rise, as will the potential for liability for damage caused by their years of high emissions.

If all countries acted only on their own country-level social cost of carbon, the authors calculate that only about 5 percent of the global climate externality would be internalized.

Summary Findings

It based that on calculations of the global harm being created by each ton of U. When the Trump administration came in, it argued that the social cost of carbon should only address the impact on the U. Looking just at the impact within U. That wouldn't support the Trump administration's plans for weakening the Clean Power Plan and energy efficiency standards, because the estimate of just U.

Climate Change and Economic Production by Country

And even those are likely to be underestimates, the authors said. According to the research, this means annual losses stretching into the hundreds of billions. While the economic costs of climate change will be severe, the cost to human life might be even worse.

Rising temperatures mean disease-carrying mosquitoes will range further north, and more people could be exposed to Zika, dengue, and West Nile. Food borne diseases—like the current outbreak of E.

With more people suffering from these diseases, healthcare costs will conceivably skyrocket. None of this is particularly surprising: Scientists and other climate change experts have predicted most of these effects before, and the report merely adds to the already huge body of research attesting to the realities of human-induced climate change.


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