Report Suggests Time is Running out to Address Climate Crisis

By Jalen Xing

Climate Change has not only caused significant problems in peoples’ health but also detrimental effects on the economy. As temperatures and ocean levels continue to rise, infrastructure, agriculture, and business can be greatly affected.

A report projected two scenarios: “if the higher-temperature scenario (4.5˚ C) prevails, climate change impacts on these 22 sectors could cost the U.S. $520 billion each year. If we can keep to 2.8˚ C, it would cost $224 billion less.” Infrastructure may begin to lose value near coasts because, due to the trend of rising sea levels, people are unable to predict whether or not their building will be in the water in the future. Therefore, in the future, many people will have trouble predicting trends and whether or not infrastructure should be built near coasts.

Another impact of rising water trends is in agriculture. Extreme rainfall events have increased 37 percent in the Midwest since the 1950s, and this year, the region has experienced above-normal amounts of rain and snowmelt that have caused historic flooding. This will result in many farmers losing their jobs from loss of agriculture, and disrupt food distribution in local markets. Farmers also face other difficulties from rising temperatures: droughts, fire risk, pests, and weeds. Furthermore, many commodity crops such as corn, soybean, wheat, rice, cotton, and oats don’t grow well in warm temperatures. This will begin to impact the price of each of these because growing and sustaining the crops will become substantially more difficult. Farmers will have to adapt by buying more pesticides, finding new ways to adapt, or utilizing alternatives in order to promote cooler temperatures, which will directly affect the consumer. Human productivity will begin to decrease as a result of the rising temperatures: temperature extremes are projected to cause the loss of two billion labor hours each year by 2090, resulting in $160 billion of lost wages. As more and more people are unwilling to work jobs in the heat, the cost to find workers will begin to increase and as a result, affect the consumer.

Climate change can also wreak havoc on businesses. Due to the varying temperatures and natural disasters, many businesses such as airports can’t predict the number of customers per season, which greatly affects their planning. Insurance plans can also increase because people are looking for different types of support in case of any extreme natural disasters. Many of the big companies have to preemptively prepare for natural disasters, costing them trillion dollars. Climate change can potentially change the economy whether we expect it to or not.