A shocking new Science study has been looking into the economic consequences of uncontrolled and unmitigated climate change on the US, and as you might expect it’s not good news. By the end of the century, the country could be in the grips of a recession – one that it cannot reverse or ever recover from.
Under a business-as-usual scenario, 1.2 percent of GDP will be lost with every degree (°C) the temperature rises. At this rate, the entire country will lose at the very least 3 percent of its GDP by 2100.
As this calculation assumes climate change is not acted upon, this would mean that the phenomenon would become essentially irreversible by then – and this would continually hammer the US economy for decades to come.
It gets worse. As ever when it comes to climate change, the poorest will suffer the greatest harm.
By 2100, the poorest 10 percent will experience income losses of anywhere between 8 and 21 percent. In comparison, the richest 10 percent of the country would suffer income losses of between 0 and 2 percent.
Southern states will be hit the hardest. According to the analysis, the Gulf Coast will be so bombarded by hurricanes, storm surges, and heat waves that certain counties would lose as much as 28 percent of their GDP. Texas would also suffer on a similar scale. Only states up in the cooler Northeast and West would remain relatively unscathed.
The projections, based on economic models and cutting-edge climate simulations, were the most comprehensive of their kind to date. The team, led by the Universities of California Berkeley, Chicago, and Princeton, looked at how “agriculture, crime, health, energy demand, labor, and coastal communities will be affected by higher temperatures, changing rainfall, rising, seas and intensifying hurricanes.”
This study represents the more precise vision of a future wherein our species has given up trying to stem the worst of our excesses. It can be prevented, of course – but ironically, considering the President’s recent decision to leave the Paris agreement, it may be the rest of the world that saves America rather than America itself.