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Money News

What Does Climate Change Have to Do With the Economy?

November 26, 2018

A federal climate report says rising global temperatures could harm the economy. 

2 min read

Climate change is a fact, and without focused societal change, it will lead to increasing natural disasters and that will harm the economy.

That’s the news from the latest National Climate Assessment study, which came out last week. It’s produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The climate report comes out every four years.

“Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century,” the report says.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

What’s causing the problems?

Environmental scientists consider carbon trapping gases, such as those emitted by car exhaust, agricultural, and coal-based manufacturing processes to be the primary culprit. These emissions are sometimes called greenhouse gas.

These gases increase something called global warming. Global temperatures have increased by 2 degrees over the last 115 years, and are expected to continue increasing at a faster rate going forward.

Global warming has also been linked to rising seas levels, which in turn leads to more flooding on the coasts. Warming sea temperatures have also been linked to the increasing ferocity of hurricanes, as well as the growing severity of droughts and catastrophic forest fires in the Western states in recent years.

What can be done?

Here are some things the report suggests:

Why is there controversy?

The 1,600 page report stands in contrasts to the messaging of the Trump administration. In June 2017, the US withdrew from an international accord to fight global warming, and has since taken measures to roll back regulations restricting emissions of greenhouse gases and easing standards for pollution.

 

By Jeremy Quittner
Jeremy Quittner is the senior writer for Stash.

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