New report reveals the hidden cost of climate change

A recent report by the Universal Ecological Fund reveals the staggering cost that climate change has already inflicted on the United States.
 
Extreme weather events and fossil fuel related health problems have cost the U.S. at least $240 billion a year over the past decade. In a recent report, its estimates do not include the economic impact of recent extreme weather events such as the recent three major hurricanes and 76 wildfires around Western states, estimated alone at $300 billion.
 
Though extreme weather has existed before climate change, the fact the planet is now 1°C hotter has made these events more frequent and intense. The number of weather events that cause over $1 billion in economic losses has increased over 400 percent since the 1980’s according to data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
 
Sir Robert Watson, co-author and director at the U.K’s Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research, says the fossil fuel emission cuts outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement will not be able to curb global warming, and its costs, efficiently.
 
“The impacts of climate change are certainly going to get more than twice as bad,” he said.
 

Waves crash against the seawall as Hurricane Irma slammed Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Sept. 6, 2017 // Source: ABC News

 
On the other hand, the report shows how investing in renewable energy production would not only help reduce the bill climate change is racking up, but create prosperity – doubling the current share of renewable energy would create 500,000 new jobs in the U.S. alone.
 
The report excludes indirect costs such as climate-related crop losses that have been estimated at $56 billion since 2012. “Our report is an underestimate of the real costs of continued use of fossil fuels,” Watson said in a National Geographic interview.
 
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also published its word of warning on climate change costs. In a chapter from its World Economic Outlook, to be published later this month, IMF stated that low-income countries will be most impacted by climate change.
 
More importantly, they will not have the economic resources to combat these changes alone. The report urged the international community to support these countries or risk stunting global growth, creating mass migration, and increasing humanitarian crises around the world.
 
It seems clear that the costs of climate change are becoming more difficult to ignore. As Amir Jina of the University of Chicago, and co-author of another climate change impact study, said “The ‘hidden costs’ of carbon dioxide emissions are no longer hidden, since now we can see them clearly in the data.”

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