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.



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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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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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.


Extreme heat, wildfires and the cost of climate change

Environmental economics expert Sam Fankhauser discusses extreme weather events and says it will become 'the new normal'.
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The World Is Dangerously Lowballing The Economic Cost Of Climate Change, Study Finds news, economy

By Alexander C. Kaufman   06/04/18  
It’s almost impossible to calculate how many trillions of dollars it could cost.
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Study maps out dramatic costs of unmitigated climate change in the U.S.

By Kathleen Maclay   06/29/17  
The poorest third of U.S. counties will likely lose up to 20 percent of their incomes, and regions such as the Pacific Northwest and New England will gain economically over the Gulf and Southern states,…
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Judge Dismisses Suit Against Oil Companies Over Climate Change Costs

By John Shwartz   06/25/18  
The ruling in the closely watched case was a defeat for San Francisco and Oakland, which had sued fossil fuel companies over the costs of a warming world.
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The Cost of Climate Change in Hawaii

By LiAnne Yu   09/06/18  
The world is literally changing and here are six issues we need to understand so we can begin calculating the costs and consequences of climate change and prepare for them. We won’t be able to…
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