We, as a collective, are starting to realise the ramifications of climate change. From rising sea levels to increased warming from unchecked carbon emissions, thousands of scientists across the world are screaming for action to be taken, and with over 123 countries taking part in school marches and protests, we may yet see governments around the globe start putting in stricter policies to control the amount of damage we’re doing to the ecosystem.
But some countries have doubled down on their carbon emissions and pollution numbers, and one of these is the United States. With more than a dozen environment reforms cast out by the current president, many are expecting that the country will be at the forefront of the extreme weather that has been predicted by experts.
But the physical environment is not where the damage stops, and it’s believed that the US will start haemorrhaging billions in order to stave off some of the worse effects of climate change. A 1,600 page assessment, known as the Fourth National Climate Assessment, that was mandated by Congress, details the economic devastation that will be inflicted on the country should they continue to remain at current deforestation, consumption, and emission levels, and is a fascinatingly horrifying read in between sessions of Game of Thrones or some cool online games for entertainment.
Labour is one of the first sectors that will be hit as a direct result of the costs of keeping the country afloat amid a climate crisis. They predict that by the end of the century, extreme heat will see massive productivity losses in jobs that require workers be outside for any extended periods of the day.
This directly affects those that work in construction and agriculture, both pillars of the economy. They expect that the losses of labour could cost the country an estimated $160 billion a year in lost wages alone.
They estimate that around $507 billion worth of property and real state is currently in the firing line of rising sea levels, which will begin to envelope all of the country’s major city centres, such as New York City. The financial damage doesn’t come to a stop on the coastline however; as it’s expected that flooding could destroy bridges that would see damage costs of around $1.4 billion a year by the time 2050 starts.
Along with sea levels and bridges, extreme weather will start to impact how well the country’s infrastructure can stay well maintained. This will also affect the distribution of electricity throughout the nation, and they expect that energy costs will explode to around $87 billion a year by 2100.
This will be caused by constant increases to the demand on the power grid that will slowly become less and less reliable as weather becomes more extreme.
Ocean acidification is a set to start eating away at the capital produced by the environment. The fishing and tourism industry is set to begin to collapse as fish stocks plummet and coral reef die, with an added burden on the government of $140 billion a year.