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April 9, 2019

EPA Report Lays Out Consequences of Unchecked Climate Change

EPA scientists paint a dire picture of the economic and societal impacts of unchecked climate change in a comprehensive report published in the Nature journal on Monday. The report analyzes how 22 impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels or longer pollen seasons, will affect the U.S. economy and social fabric.

Impacts over the next several decades will range from water shortages, crippled infrastructure, air pollution, and extreme temperature mortality, and every region across the country will be impacted. By 2090, the report authors estimate that damage to coastal property will be $120 billion per year; lost productivity due to extreme temperatures will reach $155 billion annually; and deaths due to extreme weather will equal $140 billion each year.

The southern states will be the hardest hit, due to a perfect storm of coastal property, agriculture, and extreme temperature mortality. The northern tier will suffer increased air pollution, the Midwest will experience more algal blooms, and the Northwest will face more flooding and spiking electricity demand due to warmer temperatures.

The authors found that taking steps to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and to adapt to climate change could cut the economic impacts by as much as half.

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