Do you believe in climate change?
Climate change is one of the world’s hottest toptopics today. Some people believe it, some people don’t.
No one really is forcing you to believe it, it’s up to you if you believe it or not. For those who believed in climate change, it imposes a huge threat to the planet and humanity. What threat am I talking about? Check this out.
Southern and the poorest U.S. counties will be the hardest hit by climate change, creating an ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots, a landmark study says.
Published Thursday in the journal Science, the study conducted by a team of 25 economic, data and scientific researchers at Climate Impact Lab projects the potentially harmful economic effects of global warming at the local level.
The counties that will likely incur the most damaging effects of climate change are primarily in the South, according to the researchers, while the north is projected to see far less harm. Overall, if nothing is done to curb carbon emissions and the predicted warming of the planet to 6°C above preindustrial levels occurs, the entire nation could suffer economic harm to the tune of 6 percent of its gross domestic product by the end of the century, the study says.
“The south gets hammered and the north can actually benefit,” lead author Solomon Hsiang, an economist at the University of California, told the Associated Press. “The South gets hammered primarily because it’s super-hot already. It just so happens that the South is also poorer.”
The county-by-county projection of the economic effects of climate change between 2080-2100. The red indicates total economic damage and blue shows total economic benefit.(Hsiang et al., adapted by G. Grullón/Science)
To determine the projections, Hsiang and his team ran 29,000 simulations of different possible scenarios for worldwide emissions of greenhouse gasses. Using economic data between 1981 and 2010 and looking at weather-driven damages they detected in six domains, including agriculture, crime, health, energy demand, labor and coastal communities, they estimated the average local income in each of the nation’s 3,144 counties by the end of the century.
The study confirms what others have said — Atlantic coastal communities are expected to take a toll from rising seas and ever-strengthening hurricanes. Counties in the South and Midwest will also take a hit when farming is affected by rising temperatures and energy demands increase to meet the rising heat.
One reason southern counties will be so affected is they are already inching closer to the brink of dangerous temperature thresholds, where crime increases and productivity decreases, the researchers note. Increases in deaths will cause the greatest economic damage as temperatures rise.
Range of economic damages per year for groupings of U.S. counties, based on their income. Damages are a fraction of county income. White lines are median estimates, boxes show the inner 66 percent of possible outcomes, outer whiskers are inner 90 percent.
States in the north and northwest would see far less economic loss and possibly economic gains as winters become shorter, allowing for a longer growing season and greater farming yields, along with a decrease in heating demands.
The Poorest Will Become Poorer
Some of the hardest hit counties, including four in Florida, one in Georgia and one in Texas, are already counted as some of the poorest counties in the nation. These will also see the harshest outcomes should the projections come to pass. In fact, the poorest 100 counties could see an 11 percent drop in GDP.
“By the late 21st century, the poorest third of counties are projected to experience damages between 2 and 20 percent of county income under business-as-usual emissions,” the authors note.
Impoverished Union County in north-central Florida is home to some 15,000 residents and is projected to be the hardest-hit in the country, with a 28 percent decrease in medium income.
“You’re going to see this transfer of wealth from the southeast to the parts of the country that are less exposed to risk,” study co-author Robert Kopp, a Rutgers University climate scientist, told AP. “On average both in this country and on this planet just poorer people are in hotter areas.”
County-level median values for average 2080 to 2099 impacts.(Hsiang, et al. 2017)
Without taking a political stance, the researchers noted that “climate change tends to increase pre-existing inequality.”
The researchers, who use “cutting-edge climate, economic and data science to help decision-makers understand the risks climate change presents to our communities and our world,” say their work will hopefully help individuals and communities prepare for the social cost of carbon (SCC) emissions.
“In the U.S., estimates of the SCC have played a key role in establishing the stringency of appliance efficiency standards, fuel economy standards, and power plant regulations,” according to the lab’s website, which includes an interactive map. “Using the lab’s empirically derived, data-driven approach to assessing the costs of future climate change, we are pioneering a new framework for generating SCC estimates grounded in observed economic behavior.”