By the end of the century, warming on our current trajectory would cost the US economy upward of $500 billion a year in crop damage, lost labor, and extreme weather damages, according to a report of the U.S. Global Change Research Program which the White House released on the day after Thanksgiving. The Great Recession of the early 2000s cost half as much. Vox reports.
Originally, the report’s release was scheduled to coincide with the American Geophysical Union’s December meeting in Washington, DC, a major gathering of scientists. It’s not clear why it was rushed out this week instead, but many scientists and observers saw it as an attempt to bury the findings.
A White House spokesperson downplayed the report’s significance, telling the BBC that it was “largely based on the most extreme scenario, which contradicts long-established trends by assuming that… there would be limited technology and innovation, and a rapidly expanding population.”
The report doesn’t solely focus on economics. Climate change kills: it saves lives that might have been lost in the winter, but more than makes up for that in heat-wave deaths, like the dozens killed in Japan, Canada, and Pakistan this summer. Mosquitoes that carry West Nile and the Zika virus and ticks that spread Lyme disease are spreading over an ever-expanding territory. Air quality suffers.