The federal government issued a dire warning of steep economic consequences of global climate change by the end of the century. The second volume of the National Climate Assessment forecasted that the U.S. will suffer more than $500 billion a year in crop damage, lost labor and other damages from extreme weather events such as California’s recent wildfires and sea-level rise if we continue on our current path.
The assessment warned of impacts and costs of global warming to rival the largest economic downturns in history. The report stated that there is increasing evidence extreme weather events are linked to “human-caused warming.” A Baltimore Sun article on the report contains an excellent summary of the likely impacts of climate change on Maryland. These changes include poorer air quality, more pests, increases in waterborne illnesses, and shorter winters, all of which will lead to more health problems and stresses on our agricultural systems.
The assessment was issued through a consortium of 300 scientists and 13 federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency.
But while the report stated there is still time to take action to mitigate its effects, climate change is inevitable, and humans will have to learn to adjust. The U.S. can “help individuals, communities, and states prepare for the risks of a changing climate to reduce the number of injuries, illnesses, and deaths from climate-related health outcomes.”
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