The Joint Economic Committee released a new report detailing the devastating consequences for families, communities and businesses of failing to act on climate change. Unchecked, the economic and social costs of climate change will continue to compound, harming working families through reduced wages, property loss, and worse health outcomes. In 2020 alone, extreme weather events and climate disasters cost the United States over $100 billion.
According to numerous estimates, climate change will also reduce productivity, constricting economic growth and limiting economic potential. Even modest warming will shrink the economy by hundreds of billions of dollars: Economists estimate 2 degrees of warming would lower U.S. gross domestic product by 0.5% per year and 4 degrees would cut it by 2.0% annually.
With the release of the report, JEC Chair Don Beyer (D-VA) said, “Failure to address climate change is already causing widespread harm, and the mounting costs—which are disproportionately borne by marginalized communities who are least able to bear them—threaten our economic well-being and exacerbate pervasive inequalities. As extreme weather becomes increasingly common and pushes the limits of our existing infrastructure, failure to address the underlying causes will be disastrous for our economy and our society.
“Fortunately, technology has made investments to mitigate the effects of climate change and build climate resilience more cost-effective than ever. This is paving the way for bold and fiscally responsible action to create jobs, reduce household costs, improve health outcomes and ensure a healthy planet for current and future generations.”