A landmark 2015 study published in the journal Nature concluded that an average local temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit is economically optimal, especially for agricultural productivity, but that economic productivity lessens as temperatures rise. The study’s authors said that the damage caused by anthropogenic climate change had been significantly underestimated.

Not coincidentally, wealthy countries like the United States, France, China, and Japan fall in that temperature range. But a half-century’s worth of data, the authors said, demonstrate that wealthy countries are nearly as vulnerable to a warmer world as poorer countries. And countries with hotter climates, which tend to be poorer, will be even harder hit by climate change.

A stunning 77 percent of countries will be poorer in 2100 if fossil fuel use continues on its historic trajectory, the study found.

More recently, a team of climate and Earth scientists and economists concluded that the economic risks of climate change have been grossly underestimating or omitting many of the most serious consequences, in part because there is no precedent in human history for a world in which we are warming the climate far faster than natural events ever have.

The New York Times is keeping tabs, noting that the present regime is reversing nearly 100 environmental rules. It has “weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and from cars and trucks,” and rolled back many more rules.

Unless nations around the world adhere, at the very least, to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as pledged in the Paris Climate Agreement, the economic costs of climate change will soon come into sharper focus.

A 2019 study by federal Environmental Protection Agency predicted an annual cost for unchecked climate change of hundreds of billions of dollars per year by the end of this century. The E.P.A. study saw “water shortages, crippled infrastructure, and polluted air that shortens lives,” among other damages.

However, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to a warming planet would sharply cut that annual cost the study found.

The illustration below depicts specific climate events and the devastating economic consequences of wildfires and extreme weather events.



You’ve Never Heard of Him, but He’s Remaking the Pollution Fight

By Coral Davenport 06/02/23
This spring the Biden administration proposed or implemented eight major environmental regulations, including the nation’s toughest climate rule, rolling out what experts say are the most ambitious limits on polluting industries by the government in…
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Debt Crisis Looms for Poorer Nations Most Vulnerable to Climate Change

By Antony Sguazzin, Ronojoy Mazumdar, and Prinesha Naidoo 05/30/23
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif warned world leaders at the COP27 climate talks last November that developing nations risk falling into a “financial debt trap” if they're forced to turn to the markets to cover…
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Climate Change Is Exacerbating Inflation Worldwide

By Avery Ellfeldt 05/30/23
Climate change is accelerating inflation in dozens of countries around the world, new research says. And the trend is expected to continue as the world heats up.
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Supreme Court Helps Cities and States Battle Climate Change

By Patrick Parenteau and John Dernbach 05/28/23
Honolulu has lost more than 5 miles of its famous beaches to sea level rise and storm surges. Sunny-day flooding during high tides makes many city roads impassable, and water mains for the public drinking…
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Opinion: El Niño is back. What does that mean for an already overheated California?

By Justin S. Mankin and Christopher W. Callahan 05/25/23
During the El Niño of 1983, Californians counted their blessings. The warm Pacific waters sloshing eastward certainly brought heavy spring rains and record snow. But the state largely escaped the flood risks being frantically managed…
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What Exxon Won’t Tell You About Climate Costs

By Mark Gongloff and Liam Denning 05/24/23
Paying for restaurant meals is a cost. Taking classes to learn how to cook your own meals is an investment. Similarly, suffering through the effects of climate change is a cost, but spending money to…
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The Health Costs Of Climate Hazards Are Piling Up

By Dr. Vijay Limaye and Dr. Kim Knowlton 05/23/23
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this month released its latest tally of the toll of climate and weather disasters across the country, part of its work since 1980 to catalog the most expensive…
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Quantifying the human cost of global warming

By Timothy M. Lenton and others 05/22/23
The costs of climate change are often estimated in monetary terms, but this raises ethical issues. Here we express them in terms of numbers of people left outside the ‘human climate niche’—defined as the historically…
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Social cost of carbon estimates have increased over time

By Richard S. J. Tol 05/15/23
Estimates of the social cost of carbon are the yardstick for climate policy targets. However, there is great uncertainty and we do not know how estimates have evolved over time. Here I present a meta-analysis…
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Climate change mitigation costs reduction caused by socioeconomic-technological transitions

By Shinichiro Fujimori, Ken Oshiro, Tomoko Hasegawa, Junya Takakura & Kayo Ueda 05/04/23
Numerical scenarios generated by Integrated Assessment Models describing future energy and land-use systems that attain climate change mitigation goals have been considered important sources of guidance for climate policymaking. The climate change mitigation cost is…
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India’s cost of adapting to climate change needs seen at $1 trillion by 2030, report says

By Swati Bhat 05/03/23
India will spend an estimated 85.6 trillion rupees ($1.05 trillion) by 2030 to adapt its various industries to be compliant with climate change norms, a report by the country's central bank said on Wednesday.
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Climate change could spur severe economic losses, Biden administration says

By Zoya Teirstein 03/22/23
Climate change is generating major economic problems in the United States, the Biden administration said in an annual report published this week. The assumptions that higher-income countries like the U.S. would safely weather the risks…
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Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview

In 2021 (as of October 8), there have been 18 weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each to affect the United States. These events included 1 drought event, 2 flooding events, 9 severe…

Assessing the U.S. Climate in June 2021

The June contiguous U.S. temperature was 72.6°F, 4.2°F above the 20th-century average, ranking warmest in the 127-year record and surpassing the previous record for June set in 2016 by 0.9°F. The year-to-date average temperature for…

Addressing the human cost in a changing climate

Climate change is leading to systemic and existential impacts, and evidence is mounting that these can result in the displacement of human populations. There is a rapidly growing demand for comprehensive risk assessments that include…

Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Policy. The intensifying impacts of climate change…

Estimating economic damage from climate change in the United States

Costing out the effects of climate change.

Water: A human and business priority

Water is the lifeblood of humanity. With it, communities thrive. But, when the supply and demand of fresh water are misaligned, the delicate environmental, social, and financial ecosystems on which we all rely are at…

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Mapping

Use the interactive mapping tool below to better visualize the frequency and cost of billion-dollar weather and climate events.

Stopping Global Warming Will Cost $50 Trillion: Morgan Stanley Report

A new report from Morgan Stanley analysts finds that the cost of halting climate change by 2050 will require trillions of dollars of investment in five key ares of zero-carbon technology.

The New Climate Economy: Accelerating Climate Action in Urgent Times

A 2018 report released by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate suggests that the world could reap $26 trillion and gain 65 million new jobs by 2030 if governments were to carry out…

Carbon Shock: A Tale of Risk and Calculus on the Front Lines of the Disrupted Global Economy: How Carbon Is Changing the Cost of Everything (2011)

In Carbon Shock, veteran journalist Mark Schapiro takes readers on a journey into a world where the same chaotic forces reshaping our natural world are also transforming the economy, playing havoc with corporate calculations, shifting…

Climate Change Will Cost Taxpayers Billions In Near Future, Federal Report Shows

By 2100, the country’s GDP could shrink by 10 percent, triggering an economic crisis twice as damaging as the Great Recession.


Information about historical emissions drives the division of climate change mitigation costs

By Alessandro Del Ponte, Aidas Masiliūnas & Noah Lim   03/14/23  
Despite worsening climate change, the international community still disagrees on how to divide the costs of mitigation between developing countries and developed countries, which emitted the bulk of historical carbon emissions. We study this issue…
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Melting Alaska wants to drill more oil

By Bill McKibben   02/01/23  
If you wanted an example of the reason we’re still losing the fight to slow the earth’s heating, the proposed Willow oil project in Alaska should suffice. This should be the no-brainer of all time.…
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Dozens of billion-dollar weather disasters hit Earth in 2022

By Jeff Masters   01/30/23  
The year was the second-costliest on record for drought. It also had three mega-disasters costing at least $20 billion, plus a heat wave that killed over 40,000 people in Europe.
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How the World’s Richest People Are Driving Global Warming

By Eric Roston, Leslie Kaufman and Others   03/24/22  
It’s the bedrock idea underpinning global climate politics: Countries that got rich by spewing greenhouse gasses have a responsibility to cut emissions faster than those that didn’t while putting up money to help poor nations…
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Longer, more frequent outages afflict the U.S. power grid as states fail to prepare for climate change

By Douglas MacMillan and Will Englund   10/24/21  
Every time a storm lashes the Carolina coast, the power lines on Tonye Gray’s street go down, cutting her lights and air conditioning. After Hurricane Florence in 2018, Gray went three days with no way…
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U.S. Warns Climate Poses ‘Emerging Threat’ to Financial System

By Alan Rappeport and Christopher Flavelle   10/21/21  
A Financial Stability Oversight Council report could lead to more regulatory action and disclosure requirements for banks.
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Floods threaten to shut down a quarter of U.S. roads and critical buildings

By Jeffrey Pierre   10/14/21  
A quarter of the roads in the United States would be impassable during a flood, according to a new study by First Street Foundation that looks at flooding threats to the country's critical infrastructure.
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Rising Temperatures Will Change Air Conditioning Use—But Not How You Might Expect

By Molly Taft   10/13/21  
After a summer of deadly heat, the future of air conditioning in a world marked by rising temperatures has come sharply into focus. While some research has indicated we could “essentially cook ourselves” if the…
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Disaster fatigue is getting worse with more billion-dollar extreme weather events

By Jen Brady   10/10/21  
Major hurricanes are devastating coastal communities and bringing flooding thousands of miles inland. Wildfires are burning for months. Heatwaves are scorching places where people don’t have air conditioning. Events like these have all happened just…
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After Hurricane Ida, Oil Infrastructure Springs Dozens of Leaks

By Blacki Migliozzi and Hiroko Tabuchi   09/26/21  
When Hurricane Ida barreled into the Louisiana coast with near 150 mile-per-hour winds on Aug. 30, it left a trail of destruction. The storm also triggered the most oil spills detected from space after a…
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AgCenter: Ida agriculture damage at least $584M in Louisiana

Hurricane Ida’s winds and floods did at least $584 million in damage to agriculture in Louisiana, experts at the LSU AgCenter estimate. More than half of that — $315.9 million — is timber damage, with…
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Can the economy afford NOT to fight climate change?

By Dana Nuccitelli   09/19/21  
Those opposing a fast transition to renewable energy and other aggressive action to fight catastrophic climate change often argue that the economic costs would be too great. Now, with the proliferation of extreme hurricanes, droughts,…
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Climate Change Is Bankrupting America’s Small Towns

By Christopher Flavelle   09/02/21  
 It’s been almost five years since Hurricane Matthew flooded this small town on the coastal plain of North Carolina. But somehow, the damage keeps getting worse.
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UN: Weather disasters more common, costly but less deadly than in the past

By Jacob Knutson   09/01/21  
Weather-related disasters have become more common and more costly over the past 50 years but so far have killed fewer people than catastrophes in the past, according to a new report from the United Nations' weather agency.
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Extreme Weather Cost U.S. Taxpayers $99 Billion Last Year, and It Is Getting Worse

By Kat So and Sally Hardin   09/01/21  
The climate crisis is here. Extreme weather events fueled by climate change are becoming increasingly more frequent, more destructive, and more costly. Wildfires are burning millions of acres annually.1 Frequent back-to-back hurricanes,2 coupled with increased…
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Rising Heat Is Making It Harder to Work in the U.S., and the Costs to the Economy Will Soar With Climate Change

By Ciara Nugent   08/31/21  
Rising extreme heat will make it increasingly hard for workers to do their jobs, shaving hundreds of billions of dollars off the U.S. economy each year. That’s according to a report published Tuesday by the…
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‘Climate change is going to cost us’: How the US military is preparing for harsher environments

By Andrew Eversden   08/09/21  
The aftermath of Hurricane Florence dumping 36 inches of rain on North Carolina in 2018 saw three Marine Corps installations flooded, costing taxpayers $3.6 billion in damage. A few weeks later, Hurricane Michael ripped through…
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The cost of cooling: how air conditioning is heating up the world

By Aliya Uteuova   07/25/21  
The widespread reliance on air conditioning in the US is explored in Eric Dean Wilson’s book After Cooling: on Freon, Global Warming, and the Terrible Cost of Comfort. The book explores how air conditioning has…
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The total health and climate consequences of the American food system cost three times as much as the food itself

By Laura Reiley   07/16/21  
The true cost of food is even higher than you think, a new report out Thursday says. The United States spends $1.1 trillion a year on food. But when the impacts of the food system…
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2020 Disaster Estimations Reveal at Least $3.6 Billion in Uncovered Losses

Hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts – oh my! Not only was 2020 defined by COVID-19-induced volatility, over 22 weather and climate disasters, each with damages reaching over a billion dollars, hit the U.S. coast to coast…
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Oil Companies Are Ordered to Help Cover $7.2 Billion Cleanup Bill in Gulf of Mexico

By Christopher M. Matthews   07/06/21  
Some of the world’s largest oil companies have been ordered to pay part of a $7.2 billion tab to retire hundreds of aging wells in the Gulf of Mexico that they used to own, capping…
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Far From Texas, Huge Gas Bills Stoke Anger After February Freeze

By Christopher M. Matthews   06/27/21  
An angry backlash is building across the middle of the U.S. as states step in to help their constituents pay billions of dollars in natural-gas bills racked up during February’s freeze. While most escaped the…
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Climate change alone cost Houston $13 billion during Harvey, study says

By Fernando Ramirez   06/18/21  
It’s widely known that Hurricane Harvey, one of the costliest storms in U.S. history, was supercharged by climate change. At least three separate studies have tried to quantify to what degree. In 2017, one research…
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Air Pollution and Climate Change Cost the Average American $2500 Per Year

By Aubrey Patti   06/17/21  
A report from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shows that air pollution and climate change cost each American an average of $2,500 per year in health care. The researchers used data from dozens of…
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Here’s How You’re Already Paying for Climate Change

By Emma Kerr   06/10/21  
States in the Midwest and Northeast set record temperature highs on Monday as an extreme heat wave moved across the country from drought-ridden areas in the West, while at the other end of the spectrum,…
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Climate crisis inflicting huge ‘hidden costs’ on mental health

By Damian Carrington   05/26/21  
The climate crisis is damaging the mental health of hundreds of millions of people around the world but the huge costs are hidden, scientists have warned. Heatwaves are increasing rates of suicide, extreme weather such…
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US Health Costs from Climate Change, Fossil Fuel Pollution Top $820B a Year

New NRDC report synthesizes dozens of scientific research papers and is among the first to tally a broad financial toll on public health from climate-change-driven extreme weather, unprecedented heat waves, spikes in air pollution and…
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How much damage does climate change cause in Colorado?

By Mark Jaffe   05/25/21  
The East Troublesome fire, Colorado’s second largest ever, was sweeping across Grand County forests on Oct. 25, 2020, part of a record-breaking wildfire season that forced evacuations, destroyed homes and took lives. Half a world…
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Get Ready for Financial Shocks From Climate Change, Biden Tells Officials

By Christopher Flavelle   05/20/21  
President Biden has ordered government agencies to prepare for climate-related shocks across the economy, as escalating disasters threaten home prices, the value of retirement funds and even the stability of the global financial system.
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Climate change meant Hurricane Sandy caused $8 billion more damage

By Karina Shah   05/18/21  
Without sea level rise caused by human-induced climate change, Hurricane Sandy would have caused $8.1 billion less damage, according to a modelling study. Hurricane Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, swept over the Caribbean…
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Record number of billion-dollar disasters struck U.S. in 2020

It was an extraordinary year for weather and climate events in the U.S.: The nation endured an unprecedented 22 billion-dollar disasters in 2020.  A record number of named tropical storms formed in the Atlantic, with…
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Study: Decarbonizing U.S. electricity by 2035 could cost less than expected

By Kathiann M. Kowalski   12/03/20  
Fossil fuel plants with nearly three-fourths of current generating capacity will reach the end of their typical lifespan by 2035.
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Aggressive push to 100% renewable energy could save Americans billions – study

By Oliver Milman   10/22/20  
An aggressive push towards 100% renewable energy would save Americans as much as $321bn in energy costs, while also slashing planet-heating emissions, according to a new report.
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Iowa derecho in August was most costly thunderstorm disaster in U.S. history

By Bob Henson   10/17/20  
No single thunderstorm event in modern times — not even a tornado — has wrought as much economic devastation as the derecho that slammed the nation’s Corn Belt on Aug. 10, based on analyses from…
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Climate crisis to blame for $67bn of Hurricane Harvey damage – study

By Fiona Harvey   06/12/20  
Exclusive: new figure far higher than previous estimates of direct impact of global heating
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The true cost of carbon pollution

By Susanne Brooks   03/02/20  
Climate change causes devastating impacts: extreme weather events like flooding and deadly storms; the spread of disease; sea level rise; increased food insecurity; and other disasters.
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Extreme weather and climate disasters cost the U.S. billions in 2019, NOAA reports

By Audrey Mcnamara, Jeff Berardelli   01/08/20  
The United States experienced another year of extreme weather in 2019, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's annual U.S. climate assessment.
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New report finds costs of climate change impacts often underestimated

By Dana Nuccitelli   11/18/19  
It's difficult to accurately project the costs of climate change impacts because the rate and magnitude of climate change is unprecedented.
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Climate change could be costing Pennsylvania hundreds of millions, auditor says

By Katie Meyer   11/13/19  
Pennsylvania’s auditor general, Eugene DePasquale, is attempting to quantify what climate change will cost Pennsylvania....
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Climate events have cost the US economy more than $500 billion over the last 5 years, Fed official says

By Gina Heeb   11/10/19  
In addition to causing damage to natural resource and infrastructure, global warming is expected to disrupt business operations and economic activity in the coming years. ...
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Preparations for the climate crisis will save trillions, commission finds

By Chloé Farand   10/09/19  
Every $1 spent on climate adaptation could see between $2 and $10 of net economic benefit, but current investments are lagging way behind
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Some economics nerds just realized how much climate change will cost us

By Kate Yoderon   10/03/19  
A bunch of economists just put down their calculators and concluded that we should act on climate change sooner rather than later. Really.
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Climate change means the government faces more costs from natural disasters. If only it admitted it.

By Malka Older   10/01/19  
We can protect ourselves to some degree from these dire events, but only if we honestly assess disaster patterns, intensity and probabilities....
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It’s now cheaper to build new renewables than it is to build natural gas plants

By Adele Peters   09/11/19  
Clean energy has reached a tipping point: It’s now cheaper to build and use a combination of wind, solar, batteries, and other clean tech in the U.S. than to build most proposed natural gas plants.…
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The Real Cost of Your Blue Jeans

By Dana Thomas   09/03/19  
The biggest fashion trend in recent years is "fast fashion"—the mass production of trendy, inexpensive clothing with lightning-quick turnaround. This is a hugely wasteful global, environmental and human rights disaster, according to bestselling journalist Dana…
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“There’s no doubt about it” — Researchers suggest increased fire activity, and cost, due to climate change in Alaska

By Derek Minemyer   09/02/19  
Researchers in Alaska say climate change is shifting the way the state manages resources, including around wildfires. They predict a warmer climate will bring bigger and hotter fires and a higher cost of suppressing those…
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Fashion industry’s carbon impact bigger than airline industry’s

By Megan Cerullo   08/19/19  
The apparel and footwear industries together account for more than 8 percent of global climate impact, greater than all international airline flights and maritime shipping trips combined.
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Companies See Climate Change Hitting Their Bottom Lines in the Next 5 Years

By Brad Plumer   06/04/19  
Many of the world’s biggest companies, from Silicon Valley tech firms to large European banks, are bracing for the prospect that climate change could substantially affect their bottom lines within the next five years, according…
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Lobbying against key US climate regulation ‘cost society $60bn’, study finds

By Josh Gabbatiss   05/27/19  
Political lobbying in the US that helped block the progress of proposed climate regulation a decade ago led to a social cost of $60bn, according to a new study.
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America’s missed climate targets cost global economy $1 trillion, Dublin-based think tank finds

By Sharon Kelly   04/05/19  
“Someone, somewhere, at some time will eventually pay the price.”
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