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Joint Economic Committee Democrats Chairman - Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

Inaction On Climate Change Will Have Devastating Consequences For The Economy, Families, And Communities

Key Points:
Climate change will decrease productivity and reduce economic potential
Climate change will reduce health and increase mortality, alongside broader social consequences
Climate change disproportionately impacts marginalized and low-income communities
The cost of inaction on climate change continues to grow
The social cost of carbon has risen dramatically in the past decade
The cost of action on climate change is falling dramatically
Families and communities are already paying a high cost for inaction on climate change

Failure to address climate change will prove catastrophic. The economic and social costs are enormous. Climate change will increase the frequency and impact of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods, and increase the likelihood of unbearable heat and droughts. From an economic point of view, a hotter planet will make workers and agricultural land less productive, slowing economic growth and lowering living standards over time. All Americans will bear the costs of climate change, and the small fraction of the global population that has not yet been affected shrinks every day. Unchecked, these costs—which disproportionately impact marginalized communities—will continue to compound, harming working families through reduced wages, property loss, and worse health outcomes.

According to numerous estimates, climate change will slow productivity growth across the entire economy. Even modest warming will shrink the economy by hundreds of billions of dollars with higher temperatures raising costs at an increasing rate. Economists estimate 2 degrees of warming would lower GDP by 0.5% per year, and 4 degrees would cut GDP by 2.0% annually. The most sophisticated economic methods show still greater costs of carbon emissions to the US economy. These costs are not isolated to a single sector or region and will affect families, businesses, local governments and the financial system. New government provisions are required to help ensure that the United States can continue to economic well-being, generate more clean energy and make progress towards eliminating carbon emissions.

Read the full brief here.