The President of the Union may be one of the harshest critics of the climate change theory, but the National Climate Assessment seems to suggest that the threat of rise in global temperatures and associated effects is very much real and concrete. This rather comprehensive report concludes that climate change is indeed driven by human activities. As the nation with the largest per capita carbon footprint, it is poised to bear the consequences for the same. The report infers that the US GDP could contract by a full 10 percent by the year 2100, if the current trends continue. Further, the country’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change treaty puts the entire world in serious jeopardy.
However, according to certain analysts, this information could have been exaggerated as it does not take into account, future plans of action and estimates global rise in temperatures to be at a rate of 15 Degrees Fahrenheit over pre-Industrial levels which is a distant possibility. The median change is expected to be closer to 6 Degrees Fahrenheit. Following a moderate global warming scenario, the nation’s GDP would be about 3 percent smaller than otherwise expected.
This study does not take into account the possible social costs that accompany climate change. Food shortages, declining quality of forest and farm produce, health risks, energy demand and coastal properties will certainly stand affected. Wildfires and water contamination are already on the rise owing to humanity’s never-ending quest for resources and energy. A measure of total economy-wide costs would have to include these other categories. However, the study does entail the regional consequences of climate change. In several counties, GDP decline could exceed 10 percent, as in case of the Florida Union County where these losses could amount to over 28 percent. The worst affected places will certainly be low-income counties.
An even spread of the cumulative GDP decline such as 1-2 percent could still be bearable. However, the tendency of this burden falling on the poor sections is much higher. This would lead to an even greater moral and social loss as these communities are often neglected by all administrations. Declining incomes in poor counties have a correspondingly lower impact on nationwide GDP, which means that the economic burden of climate change is reduced because it falls on those with low incomes and by extension, on people with lower financial/political means.